Family of Beverly and Ben Horowitz creates fund at City of Hope to advance innovative CAR T cell therapy research

February 12, 2018
CONTACT
Denise Heady
626-218-8803
 
Zach and Barbara Horowitz, Jody Horowitz Marsh and Gary Marsh join Stephen Meringoff and the Meringoff Family Foundation in paying tribute to the legacy of Ben and Beverly Horowitz
 
DUARTE, Calif. — In memory of Ben and Beverly Horowitz, longtime chief executive officer and first lady of City of Hope, their family has donated $1 million to City of Hope to help advance groundbreaking CAR T cell immunotherapy research to combat cancer. Their son, Zach and his wife Barbara, their daughter Jody and her husband Gary Marsh, and their cousin Stephen Meringoff through his Meringoff Family Foundation, have created the “Beverly and Ben Horowitz Fund for Immunotherapy Research.” The Fund will advance chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy research at City of Hope and clinical immunotherapy trials in breast, brain and prostate cancer. 
 
The gift was announced by music industry veteran Zach Horowitz, former president and chief operating officer of Universal Music Group and chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Publishing Group, and his sister Jody Horowitz Marsh, chair of City of Hope's Beckman Research Institute’s Board at the recent 13th annual Songs of Hope event sponsored by City of Hope's Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group. An additional $100,000 raised at that event will also be contributed to the Horowitz Fund for immunotherapy research.
 
For nearly 40 years, beginning in 1952, Horowitz was the chief Executive officer at City of Hope, leading the institution during a time of exponential growth and scientific and clinical advances. He first met Beverly when she ran the Southwest Region for the institution. Under Horowitz’s leadership, City of Hope was transformed from a small hospital that was focused on tuberculosis into a world leader in the treatment of cancer, diabetes and other devastating diseases.
 
Believing that City of Hope’s mission required it to do more than simply provide treatments at its hospital in Duarte, Horowitz established City of Hope as a major research center dedicated to finding cures that could help patients around the world. He championed and raised funds in support of groundbreaking research at City of Hope, and brought leading scientific researchers to the institute from around the globe. He established the Beckman Research Institute on campus, which has become one of the leading medical research institutions today. 
 
The scientific breakthroughs that occurred during Horowitz’s leadership of City of Hope included the discovery of synthetic human insulin — which revolutionized the treatment of diabetes, pioneering work in bone marrow transplants — making City of Hope’s transplant program one of the largest and most successful programs in the U.S., and the development of the technology responsible for the four leading drugs used to treat cancer today.
 
Ben and Beverly Horowitz’s passion for City of Hope has inspired their family’s dedication to the cause. In addition to chairing the Beckman Board, Jody Horowitz Marsh is a member of City of Hope's National Board. Zach Horowitz is a long-time leader of its Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group, which has raised over $100 million for the organization. Jody’s husband Gary, president and chief creative officer at Disney Channels Worldwide, was a co-founder of “Concerts for Hope,” which raised over $2 million for City of Hope. Barbara and Zach’s son, Charles, interned at the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope. Their cousin Stephen Meringoff was also a member of City of Hope's Board of Trustee. He has a long history of philanthropic activity, primarily in support of public education and cutting edge medical research through the Meringoff Family Foundation.  
 
“City of Hope’s CAR T team is truly humbled by the Horowitz family’s recognition of our research,” said Saul Priceman, Ph.D., assistant research professor in the T Cell Immunotherapy Program at City of Hope. “Their support will go a long way in helping City of Hope advance one of the most promising cancer therapies today.”
 
“This generous gift will enable City of Hope researchers, pioneers in the use of immunotherapy, to deepen our investigation of CAR T cell therapy, not only for blood cancers, but for hard-to-treat solid tumors,” said Christine Brown, Ph.D., Heritage Provider Network Professor in Immunotherapy and Associate Director of the T Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory at City of Hope.
 
Using this approach, immune cells are taken from a patient’s bloodstream, reprogrammed to recognize and attack a specific protein found in cancer, then reintroduced into the patient’s system to destroy targeted tumor cells. City of Hope has its own manufacturing facilities on campus to produce the cells so that they can be quickly transferred to patients treated at the hospital. City of Hope’s CAR T program has become one of the most comprehensive in the world and is one of a few cancer centers in the United States offering clinical studies in this area.
 
“Our father always considered his establishing City of Hope as a world-renowned research center to be one of his greatest achievements,” said Zach Horowitz. “It gives us great pride to continue his legacy in that area by supporting City of Hope’s scientists in their leading edge work in immunotherapy. The trailblazing CAR T cell immunotherapy research at City of Hope has the potential to transform the treatment of disease everywhere."
 
"This is truly cutting edge, 21st century medicine,” said Jody Horowitz Marsh. "We are so proud to help support City of Hope in this pioneering research — research that is not only producing today’s groundbreaking treatments, but tomorrows cures." 
 
"Our foundation believes that this innovative work using CAR T cell immunotherapy can only be undertaken effectively at an integrated research and hospital institution like City of Hope,” said Stephen Meringoff. "We are overjoyed to be joining with Zach and Jody's families to honor Ben and Beverly in this way."   
 
Leading the CAR T work at City of Hope is Stephen J. Forman, M.D., the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and director of City of Hope’s T Cell Immunotherapy Laboratory. Forman is already known worldwide for his pioneering breakthroughs in blood and bone marrow transplants and today he's at the forefront of CAR T cell therapy.
 
Forman, Brown and Priceman are launching a wave of clinical trials for this type of therapy for treatment of patients with brain tumors, breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and prostate cancer.
 
“This support will help our researchers and physicians tackle some of the hardest-to-treat cancers with innovative approaches,” said Forman. “The fact that the donation honors Ben and Beverly Horowitz, who helped inspire all of us who are engaged in research at City of Hope, makes it even more special.”
 
About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as one of only 49 comprehensive cancer centers, 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 world. City of Hope is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with community clinics throughout Southern California. 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, diabetes and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs based on technology developed at the institution.
 
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