The University of Pennsylvania has announced a $25 million gift from alumni Mindy and Jon Gray to establish a center for the treatment and prevention of cancers associated with inherited BRCA mutations.
The Basser Research Center, named in honor of Mindy Gray's sister, Faith Basser, who died of ovarian cancer at the age of 44, will support research on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are linked to greatly increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In addition to supporting creation of the center, the gift will be used to fund an endowed professorship in the field of oncology, recruit additional faculty, enhance technologies such as bioinformatics and DNA vaccine production, launch an annual lectureship, and establish a Basser Prize to recognize cutting-edge research.
Located within Penn's Abramson Cancer Center at the Perelman School of Medicine, the center will emphasize research, prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship while contributing to all stages of research and clinical care associated with BRCA-related cancers. The gift also will support research that emphasizes interdisciplinary work and an acceleration of "bench-to-bedside" implementation of scientific findings.
"With their profoundly visionary and generous donation, Jon and Mindy have set the stage for scientific breakthroughs that will transform the lives of women and their families for decades to come," said University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann. "In creating this first-of-its-kind center, the Grays' gift endows Penn researchers and clinicians with the crucial resources required to identify innovative ways to prevent and treat inherited diseases. The possibilities for the future of women's health and cancer research are vast."