University of Pennsylvania announces the renaming of its Comprehensive Cancer Center as the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania

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Last Modified: June 24, 2002

Monday, June 24, 2002, Philadelphia - In celebration of the extraordinary generosity and support of Leonard and Madlyn Abramson and their family, the University of Pennsylvania has announced the renaming of its nationally recognized, National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center as the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Cancer Center is one of the largest in the country, with 345 members and over $120 million per year in external research grant funding. In 1997, the Abramsons announced a $100 million gift to establish The Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. "This was the largest such gift to a cancer center at the time and one of the largest donations ever received by the University," added Judith Rodin, PhD, president of the University of Pennsylvania.

"The Abramson's generosity has significantly advanced Penn's quest to unravel the biomedical mysteries of cancer in order to design better treatment options and ultimately find a cure," said Rodin. "With their extraordinary philanthropic vision and personal dedication to help all members of the cancer community, particularly patients and their loved ones, the Abramson commitment has enabled us to realize a new era in cancer treatment and research."

Dr. Rodin referred to the Abramson name as a "beacon of light shining across the world." She stated that this beacon would draw the finest oncology researchers and clinicians to the Abramson Cancer Center, furthering the goals and visions of both the Abramson family and the Cancer Center.

According to Arthur H. Rubenstein, MB, BCh, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the School of Medicine, "The Abramson Institute has become a critically important research and clinical component of the Cancer Center and the University." Major scientific initiatives made possible by the extraordinary Abramson gift include programs in translational research, cancer cell biology, signal transduction, cancer genomics, and biomedical informatics. Currently, the Institute supports 27 Penn researchers and more than 250 personnel.

"We want to recognize the Abramson family and acknowledge the significant research and clinical accomplishments made possible through their magnificent gift," said John H. Glick MD, director of the Abramson Cancer Center. "We decided that the fifth anniversary of the Abramson's gift was the appropriate time to celebrate and thank the Abramsons for making our Cancer Center what it is today. "In addition to making possible numerous scientific accomplishments, the Abramsons have helped to transform the level of clinical cancer care and service excellence at the Cancer Center," added Glick. Abramson-funded patient service coordinators, cancer nutritionists, and psychosocial counselors help patients and their families cope with the physical, emotional, and practical complexities of their care. Comprehensive cancer rehabilitation services and a service excellence training program also contribute to new levels of patient satisfaction. Dr. Glick added that his motto, of treating every patient as if they were your own family member, echoes the sentiments of Madlyn Abramson and her family. These common philosophies have allowed the Abramson funded projects to succeed.

"It is wonderful that the University is recognizing the Abramson family for its strong support of cancer research and treatment," said George Vande Woude, PhD, former scientific director of the National Cancer Institute and Director of the Van Andel Research Institute. "The Abramson family's investment in the Cancer Center has already had a profound effect on the cancer program of the University of Pennsylvania, helping to build a world-class cancer research program and develop new treatments for this disease, which affect one in three Americans."

Throughout its history, the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has been continuously recognized regionally and nationally for its contributions to patient care, research, professional education, and patient and community outreach. The Abramson Cancer Center is one of only 37 Comprehensive Cancer Centers approved and designated by the NCI. It was among the first cancer centers to receive this prestigious designation, and has continually maintained this status. The Abramson Cancer Center is also ranked fourth in research grant funding from the National Cancer Institute.