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A Big Gift to Cure Cancer

"There is no longer any question about whether we can and will cure cancer," said Dr. John H. Glick, director of the new Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. "The question now is, 'When?'"
   With the gift of $100 million by the Abramsons for cancer research at Penn, such breakthroughs could come sooner than scientists had previously hoped. The institute, created with their donation, will enhance and further, but not duplicate, current research and treatment programs at Penn's Cancer Center. Theirs is the largest single contribution for research to a federally-designated comprehensive cancer center ever made.
   Leonard Abramson is founder and former chairman and CEO of U.S. Healthcare, Inc., which he sold to Aetna in 1996. Madlyn Abramson, Ed'57, GEd'60, is a Penn trustee, as well as a member of the Penn Health System's board of trustees and the Graduate School of Education's board of overseers.
   "Leonard and I are committed to supporting ground-breaking research that has the potential to reduce or eliminate the physical and psychological impact of cancer on patients and their families," said Madlyn Abramson, who will chair the institute's board of directors, at a December press conference announcing the gift. Penn's Cancer Center, she added, "was chosen by our family because of its demonstrated excellence in both research and clinical care, as well as our shared vision for the future."
   A breast-cancer survivor herself, she said she came to "understand the importance of patient-centered approaches in research and clinical activities," adding: "I want this gift to give everybody the kind of care that I got."
   Glick, her physician and director of the Cancer Center since 1985, will serve as director of the institute, which plans to bring together top scientists and physicians to conduct research and provide patient-focused care. The money will go directly to research -- not bricks and mortar.
   Dr. Judith Rodin, CW'66, Penn's president, praised the Abramsons for their "extraordinary philanthropic vision and their personal dedication to help all members of the cancer community -- particularly patients and their families and friends."

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Copyright 1998 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 2/4/98