UCMC Receives $5 Million Grant For Cancer Research

The Hospira Foundation donated the money in order to create the Hospira Foundation Professorship in Oncology, in addition to new cancer research programming.

By Emily Kramer

Last month, the University of Chicago Medicine received a donation of $5 million from the Hospira Foundation, the philanthropic associate of Hospira, Inc. This donation will support cancer research and will be directed toward the creation of the Hospira Foundation Professorship in Oncology.

Now owned by Pfizer, Hospira is an American medical device and pharmaceutical company headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois. One of the world’s primary providers of infusion technologies and injectable drugs, the company’s products include the antibiotic Azithromycin and the anesthesia Propofol.

A similar $5 million donation was given to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine by the Hospira Foundation this past December in order to support cancer research and create the Hospira Foundation Professorship in Translational Cancer Biology at Northwestern’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“This generous gift from the Hospira Foundation will carry on Hospira’s legacy and boost the University’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of those with cancer,” Kenneth S. Polonsky, executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the biological sciences division at Pritzker School of Medicine, said in an interview with the University’s news office.

According to Michelle Le Beau, director of University Medicine’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, UChicago Medicine currently has over 200 clinical and laboratory researchers investigating all aspects of cancer. Part of the gift will establish an endowed chair, who has yet to be identified, and will support his or her cancer research. The remainder of the gift will be invested in research programs as directed by the recipient of the endowed chair.

“The mission of our center is to elucidate the determinants of cancer, to develop cures for cancer, and to prevent cancer,” Le Beau said.

She listed areas of high strategic priority to include cancer immunology and immunotherapy, computational biology and genomics of cancer, as well as drug development.

“Our programs emphasize translational and interdisciplinary research, and we pursue this goal by promoting collaboration among a diverse and dedicated team of outstanding basic, clinical, translational, and population researchers, and trainees,” she said.

In an interview with the Hyde Park Herald, Le Beau said that tremendous strides are being made in understanding the biology of cancerous diseases and improving cancer care.

Le Beau believes that Hospira’s donation will allow UChicago Medicine to have a greater impact on cancer research through the development of improved methods for preventing, detecting, and treating cancerous diseases. This, she says, will ultimately improve the outcome for cancer patients worldwide.