$6.25M gift from Billy and Audrey L. Wilder funds professorships

December 31, 2014
DUARTE, Calif. — A $6.25 million gift from the estate of Billy and Audrey L. Wilder will be used to create two professorships for City of Hope researchers, along with the Wilder Archives Recognition Gallery at City of Hope.
Hua Yu, Ph.D., the Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Professor in Tumor Immunotherapy, and Peter P. Lee, M.D., the Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Professor in Cancer Immunotherapeutics, are working to develop different types of therapies for cancer. Yu focuses on how tumor cells and “normal” cells interact, with the goal of creating drugs that can attack cancer on multiple fronts. Lee is intent on understanding how cancer interacts with the immune system, with the goal of developing treatments to harness the patient’s own immune response to control cancer in a more specific and less toxic way.
The Wilder Archives Recognition Gallery will serve as a visual guide that showcases the past and present generosity shown by donors since City of Hope’s founding in 1913, generosity that has made this remarkable institution and its accomplishments possible.
“This gift connects the legacy of our past supporters with the most leading-edge research of today in a very tangible way as well as a vibrant, visual way,” said City of Hope Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Friedman, M.D. “The work by our researchers will bring us closer to new therapies against cancer, even as the Wilder Archives Recognition Gallery calls attention to how crucial philanthropy has been, and is, to our institution.”
Yu is an expert on how tumor cells communicate with normal cells such as immune cells. Her lab was the first to demonstrate that inhibition of the Stat3 protein activates immune cells to fight cancer, in addition to killing tumor cells. Yu’s lab is creating a next generation of cancer therapies that attack cancer on multiple fronts. Yu hopes that the new therapies could treat many cancers without the need for chemotherapy or radiation.
Lee is the new chair of the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology at City of Hope. In his work, he uses the latest scientific technologies to analyze the complex interplay between immune cells and cancer cells within tumors, lymph nodes and blood. His lab has found that the distribution, function and patterns of immune cells have a strong correlation with clinical outcome. He currently is currently developing integrated immunotherapies for breast cancer and will extend this novel approach to other cancers such as prostate cancer, gastro-intestinal cancer and leukemia.
The gallery will feature a state-of-the-art, touch-screen system connected to a database of more than 50,000 donor recognition artifacts. This system will allow visitors to view historical donor recognition and learn the location of existing recognition on campus. A celebration of philanthropy throughout City of Hope’s 100-year history, the Wilder Archives Recognition Gallery will honor the legacy of Billy and Audrey L. Wilder.
Tami Dennis
Phone: 800-888-5323
[email protected]
About the Estate of Billy and Audrey L. Wilder
The estate of Billy and Audrey L. Wilder has continued to build the philanthropic legacy established by the legendary Hollywood couple. Billy Wilder was a writer, director and producer whose Hollywood career spanned more than five decades. His work included “Some Like It Hot” and “The Apartment.” Audrey L. Wilder was a Paramount actress in the 1940s as well as a singer with the Tommy Dorsey Band. She later managed the family’s philanthropic activities, with a special interest in charities benefiting children and health care.  The couple were was married for 53 years.
About City of Hope
City of Hope is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, with clinics in Antelope Valley and South Pasadena. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S.News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics. For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org or follow City of Hope on  , , , Breakthroughs Blog or  .