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Alumnus Donates $25 Million For Cancer Research at MIT

By Priya Prahalad

David H. Koch '62 has donated $25 million to the Center for Cancer Research at MIT. Donations from a separate fund will enable the center to provide summer UROP projects.

The $25 million will be distributed at $2.5 million per year over the next ten years. "It is a very generous donation that can have a big impact. The money will be used in the CCR and other departments to conduct innovative cancer research," said Richard O. Hynes '71, director of the Center for Cancer Research.

While no definitive decision has been reached on how to distribute the funds, the donation might also be used to support postdoctoral work and to sponsor chairs for cancer research. Although Koch has not stipulated the exact type of cancer research he wishes to fund, he has expressed a great interest in the study of prostate cancer, Hynes said.

President Charles M. Vest said, "I am extremely pleased that David Koch has made such a magnificent commitment to enhance cancer research at MIT. Major funding with such flexibility will enable us to very significantly strengthen our world-class basic cancer research."

Vest particularly praised the size of the gift: "The level of this gift in support of research is unprecedented in modern MIT history," he said.

"We are extremely grateful for this donation. It shows the strength of MIT and cancer research at MIT," Hynes added.

Koch received both his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in chemical engineering.

Ludwig fund to provide UROPs

The CCR will also be using a one million dollar endowment from the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Chair Fund at MIT to sponsor cancer UROP projects this summer.

This fund was established by Daniel K. Ludwig, a New York real estate magnate. Similar funds founded by Ludwig benefit Harvard University Medical School, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

CCR a pioneer in cancer therapy

Since its inception 25 years ago, the MIT CCR has been responsible for major advances in the field of cancer research. The laboratory of Robert A. Weinberg '64 was the first to clone an oncogene from a human tumor. The CCR faculty includes Nobel Laureates Alfred P. Sloan Professor Emeritus of Biology & Chemistry Har Gobind Khorana, Professor of Biology Susumu Tonegawa, and Professor of Biology Phillip A. Sharp.