University of Pittsburgh
September 27, 2017

Pitt, UPMC Announce $30 Million Henry L. Hillman Foundation Gift to the Hillman Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research Program

Contact: 

Joe Miksch

412-624-4356

Cell: 412-997-0314

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh and UPMC today announced a $30 million commitment from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation for the continued support of the Hillman Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research Program.

Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said the new contribution — $3 million per year for 10 years — will advance the mission of researchers at Pitt and the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center to cultivate novel cancer discoveries that improve care for patients around the world.

Gallagher announced the new contribution Wednesday at the University’s Board of Trustees meeting.

“This remarkable gift, which will drive cancer research and discoveries, extends the life-changing philanthropic commitment and innovative vision that are the shining hallmarks of Henry and Elsie’s great legacy,” said Gallagher. “On behalf of the many University of Pittsburgh researchers and clinicians who are devoted to leading the way in cancer treatment and research, I want to thank the Henry L. Hillman Foundation for their ongoing and outstanding support.”

The Hillman Fellows program started in 2004 with a $20 million contribution from the late philanthropists Henry and Elsie Hillman. The program provides “seed” funding to scientists and encourages partnerships with young researchers to cultivate novel anti-cancer methods that improve cancer treatment, detection and prevention worldwide. Since its inception, the Hillman Fellows program has directly supported the research of more than 100 scientists. The new funds will also be used to accelerate high-priority scientific research, such as linking novel cancer genomics and immunology to personalized patient care.

“The Fellows program has accelerated the move of cancer research from the bench to the bedside and helped to establish the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center as a model for others around the world,” said Stanley Marks, chairman of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, which is one of the largest treatment networks in the country with more than 50 locations. “We have been able to recruit world-class cancer researchers and financially support their groundbreaking efforts, all because of the vision of Henry and Elsie Hillman.”

David Roger, president of the Hillman Family Foundations, said, “Having top quality research at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center was very important to Mr. and Mrs. Hillman. They were both extraordinarily proud to be associated with the work of so many brilliant doctors and scientists who have been a part of the program.”

Robert L. Ferris, a past fellow who was recently named director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, said, “The Fellows program has been responsible for funding research at UPMC in stem cell biology, cancer vaccines and cellular therapies over the past 10 years. We are working toward groundbreaking immunotherapy and other discoveries that can cure some cancers and developing more effective treatments for this disease. Without this critical support from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, this life-changing work would simply not be possible.”

The Hillman Fellows program is housed in the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The research of the program’s investigators has spanned from basic to translational to epidemiologic studies, and has primarily focused on cancer immunology and immunotherapy, cancer risk, prevention and survivorship, and cancer stem cells.

About UPMC
A $16 billion world-renowned health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. UPMC provides more than $900 million a year in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 80,000 employees, more than 30 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.2 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. As UPMC works in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals. UPMC Enterprises functions as the innovation and commercialization arm of UPMC, and UPMC International provides hands-on health care and management services with partners on four continents. For more information, go to UPMC.com.

About the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences include the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Health. The schools serve as the academic partner to UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). Together, their combined mission is to train tomorrow’s health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care. Since 1998, Pitt and its affiliated university faculty have ranked among the top 10 educational institutions in grant support from the National Institutes of Health. For additional information about the Schools of the Health Sciences, please visit www.health.pitt.edu.

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9/27/17/klf