More than $100 Million for Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases Research

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The donors behind two scientific centers at the Perelman School of Medicine have made additional gifts totaling $105 million to further advance their work fighting a type of hereditary breast cancer and autoimmune diseases, respectively.

Mindy Gray C’92 and Jon Gray C’92 W’92 have made a $55 million donation to the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center, building on their $25 million gift to establish the Center in 2012 (and overall support for Penn that exceeds $125 million in the last decade). The new gift creates a “Cancer Interception” Institute at the Basser Center to develop tools to detect BRCA 1 and 2 mutations that can lead to breast and ovarian cancers much earlier, with the first abnormal cells or even before cancer starts—similar to HPV tests for cervical cancer or colonoscopies for colon cancer. It will also design timed interventions that could prevent cancer from occurring over a patient’s lifetime.

Stewart Colton W’62 and Judy Colton gave $10 million in 2021 to launch the Colton Center for Autoimmunity at Penn, one of four similar centers they have established to support work on conditions such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis that affect 23.5 million Americans and account for $100 billion in healthcare costs annually. They have now contributed an additional $50 million to create a dedicated space for the center that will bring together programs in immune health, vaccinology, virology and viral immunity, SARS-CoV-2 research, fundamental immunology, and related fields to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as enhance recruitment and provide additional scientific resources.

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