A $15 million anonymous gift has boosted growing efforts to build the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunothera-peutics and Tumor Immunology, a unique research facility at City of Hope dedicated to treatments that use the immune system to fight cancer and other diseases.
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center will provide a collaborative and integrated environment for scientists in City of Hope’s Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology (CITI). CITI scientists will focus on tumor immunology and translational research — the conversion of basic science discoveries into new and improved treatments — by researching new treatment ideas, manufacturing biologic agents on site and conducting preclinical testing and clinical trials.
“I strongly believe in City of Hope’s mission to cure cancer, and this gift is my way of helping to ensure the future of this mission,” said the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. “It’s not about my own recognition, it’s about my belief and confidence in the outstanding science taking place there. The center will help City of Hope to make great strides in fundamental science research and achieve breakthroughs that will impact not just cancer, but a broad range of diseases.”
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center will be located across from Helford Clinical Research Hospital at City of Hope, facilitating collaboration between lab researchers and clinicians to speed scientific discoveries from the lab to patients.
In addition to labs and offices for CITI researchers, the five-story, 108,000-square-foot center also will house City of Hope’s Graduate School of Biological Sciences. Researchers will focus on five investigational areas:
• Cancer immunology: Conducting basic research into understanding how cancer and the immune system affect each other
• Radioimmunotherapy: Engineering antibodies to deliver radiation treatment directly to tumors, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue
• Cellular immunotherapy: Reprogramming immune cells to recognize and destroy specific cancers
• Molecular immunotherapy: Designing proteins that combine cancer identification and immune response into one package
• Vaccine immunotherapy: Developing vaccines that enhance the immune system to ward off cancer growth
“Immunotherapy offers the promise of targeted and effective cancer treatment through the use of a patient’s own immune system to attack only cancer cells without the loss of healthy cells,” said Andrew A. Raubitschek, M.D., CITI chair. “This gift provides City of Hope with a new research center dedicated to rapidly achieving that goal of developing and bringing effective immunotherapy treatments to cancer patients.”
The anonymous donor’s $15 million gift is a critical part of City of Hope’s $100 million fundraising campaign for the center. Additional gifts include a $20 million gift from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, a $2 million bequest from longtime City of Hope supporter Norma Connick and a $1.5 million bequest from longstanding backer Marcella S. Schwartz.
“This gift represents an extraordinary commitment to our vision for the future of cancer research and treatment,” said Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer of City of Hope. “The remarkable generosity of this donor, and all donors who contribute to City of Hope, enables our researchers and physicians to advance our scientific knowledge of cancer and develop those discoveries into vital cancer treatments.”
Groundbreaking for the new building is scheduled for early 2007.