Leading the Way Toward A Cancer-Free Future

In December 2023, Griffin Catalyst and the David Geffen Foundation announced a gift of $400 million to New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), one of the most renowned and advanced cancer research and treatment institutions in the world. This landmark gift—the largest donation to the institution in its nearly 150-year history—will allow MSK to significantly expand and upgrade its research, educational, and treatment facilities toward a singular goal: eradicating cancer.
Memorial Sloan Kettering nurses and staff react to ABC Good Morning America anchors Robin Roberts and Lara Spencer announcing the largest single gift in MSK's history, with Griffin Catalyst Founder Ken Griffin and MSK President and CEO Dr. Selwyn Vickers on set on December 12, 2023.
Photo Credit: ABC/Paula Lobo

All of us here dream of the day that we end cancer. I am certain that MSK will play an important role in ending cancer in our lifetime. But until that day, the team at MSK gives patients that are enduring cancer hope, dignity, and compassion in their care.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has long been a world-renowned institution for the treatment of cancer patients, in the education and training of cancer-focused clinicians, and in research intended to detect, treat, and, increasingly, eliminate cancer itself.

WHO WE’RE SUPPORTING

Founded in 1884 as New York Cancer Hospital, MSK was among the first institutions in the world to focus on oncological research and treatment. Since the 1890s, MSK has, among many other contributions, pioneered immunotherapy, produced textbooks that became the basis of cancer treatment around the globe, and put into medical use, for the first time anywhere, X-rays.

To this day, MSK continues its drive toward a cancer-free world, including through the development and approval of no fewer than 11 cancer drugs, a record unmatched by any other cancer center.  MSK is also a powerhouse of education and training, collaborating with The Rockefeller University, Cornell University, and Weill Cornell Medical Center to prepare coming generations of clinicians and researchers, and, through its program, an innovative new breed of physician-scientists.

With the support of Griffin Catalyst and the David Geffen Foundation, MSK will be able to expand and upgrade its facilities and significantly advance its efforts to treat cancer patients and research the nature of the disease.

WHY IT MATTERS

Despite the astonishing and heartening advances in cancer treatment and prevention over recent decades—including many pioneered at Memorial Sloan Kettering—the challenge of cancer care continues to grow. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that by 2050, due to population growth and increased human longevity, the annual number of cancer cases in America will increase by nearly 50% from 2015, including incidence of several cancers—including colon, gastric, and breast—that are rising steadily among younger people.  In New York City alone, MSK estimates more than 40,000 new cancer cases arise every year.

“This transformative gift will continually allow us to first of all take care of our people, which is first our patients. Secondly, our 20,000 Memorial individuals—our faculty and doctors, our nurses, our staff, and our researchers—who all play a role in discovery. It will continually allow us to take the programs in this golden age of cancer care to transform outcomes in patients’ lives,” said Dr. Selwyn Vickers, President and CEO of MSK, on ABC Good Morning America. “It will allow us to create facilities that are state of the art, to really create the patient experience that we know patients have along this journey… This is a phenomenal gift. I couldn’t have dreamed of something greater.”

This $400 million gift will enable MSK to enhance inpatient care through new operating and procedure suites offering more sophisticated, computer-assisted, and robotic surgeries, while advancing the application of new techniques, including endoscopy and pulmonary procedures.

This support will also allow MSK to expand its pioneering interventional radiology program, by developing and using technologies such as theragnostic and advanced drug delivery mechanisms, and increase its ability to employ leading-edge diagnostic equipment, including total-body PET-CT imaging.

As MSK is equipped for the future to meet the growing need for cancer care, it will have additional resources to improve its already excellent level of care for patients at every point in their cancer journey.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT?

The new funding will allow Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to continue to drive progress and discovery in its more than a century-long battle against one of humankind’s longest recognized and most feared diseases. Thanks to recent advances from MSK, there are reasons for hope: a 100% remission rate in a clinical trial of a new immunotherapy approach to treat a locally advanced rectal cancer; highly promising results from a Phase 1 trial of the first mRNA vaccine for pancreatic cancer; and a new targeted therapy drug—recently approved by the FDA—that holds the potential to greatly improve outcomes for people with breast cancer.

With the new and expanded resources made possible by Griffin Catalyst and the David Geffen Foundation, MSK looks forward to advancing even further in understanding, treating, and, ultimately, eliminating the threat of cancer for millions of people around the country and across the world.

ABC Good Morning America anchors Robin Roberts (far left) and Lara Spencer (center right) pose with MSK President and CEO Dr. Selwyn Vickers (center left) and Griffin Catalyst Founder Ken Griffin (far right) on set in New York City. Roberts, who was treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering for a life-threatening blood disease, said, “I hope you feel the emotion from everybody that is here. There’s nobody that has not been impacted—both personally and with families and friends. [Cancer’s] impacted everybody.”

Photo Credit: ABC/Paula Lobo

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