The Starr Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, has launched the multi-institutional Starr Cancer Consortium with a $100 million grant to coordinate the research efforts of five internationally recognized cancer research centers.
NEW YORKThe Starr Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, has launched the multi-institutional Starr Cancer Consortium with a $100 million grant to coordinate the research efforts of five internationally recognized cancer research centers. Consortium members include the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University, and Weill Cornell Medical College.
In addition to enabling collaboration on basic cancer research, the aim of the grant is to foster innovatative approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, drawing on the strengths of the Consortium institutions. These include solid experience in investigations of translational genomics and animal and human cancer genetics, gold-standard clinical practice, and an extensive bank of cancer tissue specimens.
"Our goal in launching the Starr Cancer Consortium is to bring these exceptional institutions together in a manner that assures maximum efficiency and the greatest firepower in targeting cancer,"commented Starr Foundation chairman Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg.
Key areas of focus for the new consortium will include:
• Creation or accelerated development of powerful technology platforms designed to unravel the genetic and molecular basis of cancers.
• Application of these technologies in joint projects aimed at developing new and highly effective approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
• Support for basic biological research to provide insights into the fundamental molecular and cellular processes underlying cancer.
The $100 million Starr Foundation grant will be targeted specifically to joint projects between two or more Consortium institutions, including several initiatives already in progress. In July, for example, The Tri-Institutional Stem Cell Initiative, comprising investigators from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University, and Weill Cornell Medical College, announced the first group of stem cell research projects to be funded through a $50 million gift from The Starr Foundation.
Projects selected for funding through the Consortium will be determined by an executive committee including Eric Lander, PhD, of the Broad Institute; Bruce Stillman, PhD, of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Harold Varmus, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering; Paul Nurse, PhD, of The Rockefeller University; and Antonio M. Gotto, Jr, MD, DPhil, of Weill Cornell Medical College. At a teleconference to announce the Consortium, Dr. Varmus said that Consortium institutions will hold a workshop next month to exchange ideas and identify potential projects for collaboration.