Ed McDermott, CEO of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, a
non-profit organization founded by Ludwig to develop ways to prevent
and treat cancer, said the donation will help researchers build upon
recent advances at a time when funding for medical research has been
"Never before has the cancer community had the knowledge and tools
to probe so deeply into understanding cancer and discovering new
ways to defeat it," McDermott said. "More must be done in terms of
funding to ensure continued progress in an era of shrinking global
resources for research."
The money will be divided equally among "Ludwig Centers" already
established at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center, Stanford University and the University of Chicago.
MIT and Harvard both called the donations transformative, and MIT
said the money would help scientists develop their research on
metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread from a primary
tumor to distant sites in the body.
"Ludwig's generosity will support our efforts to answer two critical
questions: how cancer spreads in the body and what we can do to stop
it," MIT President L. Rafael Reif said.
The Ludwig Institute first established its centers at the six
research institutions in 2006. The centers have already helped pave
the way for the first maps of the genomic landscapes of cancers,
developed so-called "smart drugs" and immunotherapy treatments, and
fast-tracked research to bring new treatments for certain rare and
The latest funding came from the sale of some of Ludwig's real
estate holdings, McDermott said, and was donated to the centers by
Ludwig Cancer Research on behalf of a philanthropic trust
established by Ludwig.
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Ludwig was among the world's richest men in the 1960s, with a
self-made empire of around 200 companies involved in shipping,
energy, mining, forestry, agriculture and luxury hotels. He died in
1992, more than two decades after founding the Ludwig Institute for
With the latest donation, Ludwig has donated some $2.5 billion
globally to fund cancer research.
In 2013, America's wealthiest philanthropists donated a total of
more than $3.4 billion to charity, according to the Chronicle of
The largest donation of 2013 came from Facebook founder Mark
Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who announced in December
they had given 18 million shares of Facebook stock, valued at $990
million, to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a charity that
serves communities in two counties in central California.
The biggest donation to cancer research in 2013 came from Phil
Knight, a co-founder of Nike, and his wife, Penelope, who pledged
$500 million to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University.
(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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