New $25.5 million Abramson family gift to fund cancer research at Penn Medicine

Craig Thompson, Madlyn and Leonard Abramson and Amy Gutmann Photo credit: Scott H. Spitzer

From left to right, Craig Thompson, director of the Abramson Cancer Center; Madlyn Abramson; Leonard Abramson; and Penn President Amy Gutmann at an event on May 10 to honor the Abramson’s $25.5 million gift and five decades of cancer research and treatment at Penn Medicine.

For years, Madlyn and Leonard Abramson have given millions of dollars to fund cancer research at Penn Medicine, including the naming of the Abramson Cancer Center and the establishment of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.

Penn Medicine’s largest donors have given $25.5 million more to support basic science and translational research progress in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, which is among the nation’s preeminent incubators for drug discovery and development of new ways to diagnose and treat patients.

In the 12 years since the establishment of the Institute, the Abramson family’s generous gifts have led to the recruitment of 20 of the world’s best scientists to Penn Medicine’s faculty; establishment of new research programs in cancer cell metabolism, cancer vaccines, cell-based immunotherapy and the study of the DNA repair system involved in breast cancer and lymphoma; genome-wide studies that have yielded new therapeutic targets for brain and kidney cancers; and blood and imaging tests to more easily diagnose cancers including leukemia and the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma. Hundreds of patients are now able to enroll in trials testing therapeutic vaccines for lymphoma, prostate and breast cancers and new targeted drug therapies for melanoma. The new gift brings the Abramson family’s total philanthropic support of Penn Medicine to more than $140 million.

“The advances in cancer research developed at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center have led to new prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs that are awe-inspiring,” says Arthur H. Rubenstein, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the School of Medicine. “By fostering the spirit of scientific inquiry, the Abramsons have enabled the most talented minds in the country to engage in the most advanced basic and translational research right here in Philadelphia.”

Originally published on May 25, 2010