City of Hope has received a $2 million bequest from the estate of Diana Chudacoff Levin to help establish the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology.
Researchers at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center will develop immune system-based therapies targeting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The building will provide a collaborative and integrated environment for scientists in City of Hope’s Division of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology (CITI).
Levin’s aunt, Ruth Leader, directed the bequest. Leader has belonged to the City of Hope Oceanside Chapter for more than 13 years.
The gift reflects the family’s longtime pride and respect for City of Hope, Leader explained. Her grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts all gave of their time and money.
“It was just something we did,” Leader said. “When we thought of helping people, we thought of City of Hope…It is a very special place.”
When Leader deliberated how to properly honor her niece, who passed away in 2006, City of Hope naturally came to mind.
The bequest supports construction of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center, a modern, 108,000-square-foot facility blending basic science with clinical studies. Scientists at the center will explore how cancer cells evade the immune system — the body’s line of defense — while translational and clinical researchers apply those discoveries to new therapies and evaluate such therapies in clinical trials.
The futuristic, five-story Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center will stand across from Helford Clinical Research Hospital at City of Hope, encouraging cross-campus collaborations among the faculty. Builders expect to break ground in April.
CITI researchers will work in labs and offices within the building, which also will serve as the home for City of Hope’s Graduate School of Biological Sciences, a training ground for the next generation of investigators.
The CITI program emphasizes cancer immunology, basic research into the mechanics of how cancer and the immune system influence each other. It also pursues therapy strategies that use engineered antibodies to develop radiation to tumors, designer proteins that stoke the immune system to attack cancer cells, and vaccines that enhance the immune system to ward off cancer growth.
Diana Chudacoff Levin, widow of Carl Levin, lived in West Los Angeles. Her estate’s $2 million gift is a substantial contribution toward City of Hope’s $100 million fundraising goal for the center. Prior gifts include $20 million 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 generous gift will advance City of Hope’s ability to create an unrivaled translational research center dedicated to bringing the promise of immunotherapy to patients everywhere,” said Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer of City of Hope.