$10 million from Duchossois family to support cancer research

Donation is fourth in landmark series of gifts that tops $100 million in 2006

June 6, 2006

The Duchossois family, longtime champions of science and medicine at the University of Chicago, has made a donation of $10 million to support research on cancer and the study of metastasis at the university. The gift is the fourth in a series of eight-figure gifts donated this year to the university's "Spark Discovery, Illuminate Life" campaign. Together, these four gifts total more than $100 million.

"We are tremendously grateful to the Duchossois family, not only for this gift, but for the way the family has supported the university for years," says James Madara, MD, Dean of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and University Vice President for Medical Affairs. "When one considers the scope of support for this campaign-- with four gifts totaling more than $100 million so far this year--we are truly feeling a great sense of momentum for this work. These commitments, and those made by many others over the years, will enable us to break new ground in science and medicine--and provide our patients with the most advanced care anywhere."

The Duchossois gift is an example of a growing movement in health care and at the University of Chicago toward translational medicine--often known as "bench-to-bedside" medicine--that links research and patient care. In translational medicine, a discovery in a laboratory can be applied to the treatment of a disease.

Many gifts to the "Spark Discovery" campaign will encourage the development of this approach, which features a collaboration between a wide range of disciplines.

Campaign gains momentum

The "Spark Discovery" campaign has raised nearly $600 million since 2002 through the contributions of more than 15,000 donors. The recent series of four major gifts that add up to more than $100 million include:

The $10 million gift from the Duchossois family will support cancer research and the recruitment of staff. The research will focus on metastasis, the migration of cancer cells from the original tumor through the blood vessels and lymph system to distant sites in other tissues.

A $42 million gift from Lands' End founder Gary Comer to create the Comer Center for Children and Specialty Care, a four-story facility next to the Comer Children's Hospital, and to support recruitment and development of programs at the Center. The gift from Comer, who grew up on Chicago's South Side, is the largest single donation ever made to the University of Chicago.

$25 million from Chicago entrepreneur Jules Knapp and Gwen Knapp to build a 10-story medical research facility that will provide a new home for translational research programs in children's health, cancer, and other medical specialties. The facility will encourage the clinical application of scientific medical research, from the lab to the bedside.

$25 million from Ellen and Melvin Gordon for the University of Chicago's largest and most technologically advanced science building, now called the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Center for Integrative Science.

Family's history of giving

The Duchossois gift continues a history of giving to the university that spans the last quarter-century and was inspired by the excellent and compassionate care that Beverly Duchossois, wife of Richard Duchossois, received at the hospital. In 1980, Richard Duchossois established the Beverly E. Duchossois Cancer Fund in memory of his late wife. In 1985, the family donated $1.8 million to create the Beverly Duchossois Cancer Laboratories. In 1996, the Duchossois family also initiated the John E. Ultmann Professorship in honor of the physician who treated Beverly Duchossois.

That year, a $21 million gift from the family established the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, which is home to nearly all of the adult primary and specialty clinics, pediatric specialty clinics, and outpatient diagnostic and treatment facilities of the University of Chicago Hospitals. The 21 million dollar gift funded both the Duchossois Center and the John E. Ultmann Professorship.

"We have been so pleased with the implementation of our other gifts, that we wanted to continue focusing on what can be achieved here," says Richard Duchossois, Chairman of Duchossois Industries, Inc., a diversified company with interest in access control, communications and entertainment, and Chairman of Arlington Park Racecourse. "We know how important this work is. We are giving to the university because we care--and because we know all about the quality of the people at the University of Chicago."

Craig Duchossois, CEO of Duchossois Industries, Inc., is a trustee of both the Hospitals and the University. His sister, Kim Duchossois is dedicated to cancer research as a member of the Biological Sciences Division Visiting Committee and played a key role in bringing the American Cancer Society's Patient Navigation System to the University, an effort to ease the burden of cancer patients by teaching them about cancer. Janet Duchossois (Craig's wife) is a member of The University of Chicago Women's Board.

On June 9, members of the family will be made Honorary Fellows of the University's Biological Sciences Division, an honor that recognizes leaders who have a lasting impact on science and medicine at the university.

The aggregate $10 million Duchossois gift will benefit several areas: the Ben May Department for Cancer Research, the purchase of equipment and research on imaging at the university's Department of Radiology, research in the Section on Genetic Medicine in the Department of Medicine, and the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery.

Again, the research will focus on exploring metastasis. Metastasis is the most frequent cause of death from cancer; it is an especially complex area of cancer research.

"Metastasis is a crucial, but often overlooked, topic that we need to know more about," says Madara. "Understanding more about metastasis will make a major difference in how we deliver excellence in research and patient care. Through their generosity, our supporters are encouraging us to learn and discover in ways that can break new ground."

The Duchossois gift will significantly bolster a range of key areas:

Ben May Department for Cancer Research: The gift will help the Department recruit faculty who will work to advance the frontiers of cancer research at the molecular and cellular level and translate findings so they can be applied in clinical settings.

Imaging: Renowned for its work in imaging, the university's Department of Radiology will benefit from the donation to purchase imaging equipment and support advanced imaging and technology development. The gift will enable to university to explore the development of new, cutting-edge MRI equipment. By allowing researchers to see how cells are behaving, imaging creates new ways to diagnose, predict, and treat cancer.

Genetics: The Duchossois family gift will also bring funds to the increasingly prominent study of genetics. The study of genetics plays an important role in the personalization of cancer care as researchers learn more about how to tailor treatments based on the genetic makeup of patients

Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery: The Duchossois gift will complement the recent, $25 million gift from Jules and Gwen Knapp, toward construction of laboratories within the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery. The new building, which houses cancer investigators, will bring together a range of researchers from different departments around the university in a space that facilitates interaction and collaboration.

A significant portion of the Knapp Center will be devoted to cancer research. "Our work is devoted to finding better ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer," says Michelle Le Beau, PhD, Director of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center. "This is an exciting time. There is an enormous growth in knowledge about malignancy in the biological, physical, and social sciences. By integrating this information, we can bring new discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic that extend and improve lives affected by cancer."

Established in 1890, the University of Chicago is one of the world's great centers of learning. Eleven of the University's 79 Nobel Prize winners were selected for their work in physiology or medicine. Scientists and physicians at the Medical Center have contributed to all fields of biomedical research. The University of Chicago Cancer Research Center is the oldest National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Illinois and is one of the few programs in the country with NCI-sponsored programs for phase-1, phase-2 and phase-3 clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs, with more than 250 trials of novel cancer therapies currently underway. The University of Chicago Hospitals is routinely selected as one of the best in the United States by U.S.News & World Report's survey of more than 6,000 hospitals and is the only Illinois cancer program ranked in the top 10 nationwide.

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