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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University November 27, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 12
Cancer Team Shares Gift of $120 Million

New Ludwig Center at JHU is one of six established in the nation

By Vanessa Wasta
Johns Hopkins Medicine

A research team at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center is one of six in the nation to share a $120 million gift from the Ludwig Fund, named for the late shipping tycoon Daniel K. Ludwig. Some $20 million will come to the newly formed Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins this year as well as a lifetime annual commitment of $2 million.

Bert Vogelstein and Kenneth Kinzler will serve as co-directors.

"We recognize that it takes more than a good idea to drive future discoveries in cancer research," said Vogelstein. "It takes resources, and we're grateful to the Ludwig Fund for its support."

Vogelstein and Kinzler were among the pioneers in uncovering genetic mutations responsible for the onset and development of cancer. Most recently, with Ludwig Fund support, their team completed the first map of mutations found in colon and breast cancers.

Lloyd J. Old, chairman of the Ludwig Fund's trustees, said, "Johns Hopkins is revered as one of the outstanding institutions for cancer research in the world, and Drs. Vogelstein and Kinzler have been mighty contributors to this renown. Their work on the genetics of human cancer forms much of the basis for our current understanding and has identified a plethora of potential new therapeutic targets for cancer," he said. "The trustees are delighted that Drs. Vogelstein and Kinzler and their outstanding colleagues at Johns Hopkins will become an integral part of the collaborative Ludwig Cancer network of Ludwig Centers and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research."

The six Ludwig Centers will collaborate with the Ludwig Institute, which has branches and affiliate sites in more than 15 countries worldwide. At Johns Hopkins, Ludwig funds have supported two named professorships in cancer research. This latest gift to the Vogelstein-Kinzler laboratory is earmarked for research on gene maps for other tumor types and charting the routes of mutant gene pathways to develop better treatments and tests for the disease.

Said Kinzler, "The Ludwig Fund has given us the tools to explore comprehensive genetic studies so that we can make a collective impact against this disease."

Daniel Ludwig's shipping empire was the largest in the United States during the 1960s and '70s, when its assets were reported at several billion dollars. Ludwig died in 1992 after creating the eponymous institute, which has supported cancer research efforts totaling $1.1 billion.

Kinzler and Vogelstein are consistently ranked by Science Watch magazine as two of the world's most highly cited scientists, a common measure of scientific impact, with more than 100,000 citations in peer-reviewed journals. Their work led to blood tests widely available for diagnosing hereditary forms of colon cancer, and current research is focused on developing simple tests to detect early nonhereditary forms of cancer.

The five other institutions to share in the current Ludwig Center awards are the Dana-Farber Cancer Center/Harvard, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, MIT, Stanford and the University of Chicago.


Related Web sites

The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research


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