Penn gets $25 million for cancer-research center

May 14, 2012 11 years ago

By Harold Brubaker, Philadelphia Inquirer

The University of Pennsylvania has received a gift of $25 million to start a research center focused on the treatment and prevention of cancers linked to certain hereditary gene mutations, the Philadelphia institution said Tuesday.

The donors behind the Basser Research Center are Jon and Mindy Gray, 1992 Penn graduates. Jon Gray, 42, is global head of real estate and a member of the board at New York investment and advisory firm Blackstone Group.

The center, to be housed at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center in University City, is named in honor of Mindy Gray’s sister, Faith Basser, who died at 44 of ovarian cancer caused by a gene mutation.

The mutation, which affects genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, also is associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

“We hope that the Basser Research Center will eliminate BRCA-related cancers and, in doing so, provide a road map for curing other genetic diseases,” the Grays said in a news release from the university.

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Photo caption: Susan Domchek, an associate professor of hematology/oncology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, said the new center’s priorities will include research into the biology of the genes, development of vaccination strategies, and discovery of better detection methods. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer.