Research for Life launched an unprecedented expansion of talent that focused on the recruitment and retention of nationally recognized researchers and physician-scientists.
With a mission of delivering cancer research from the laboratory to the bedside, physical space that fosters collaboration is essential. As a result, providing such space for our programs to thrive was an important component of Research for Life.
There is no question that this year's Philanthropic Review is significant. I am proud to share another year of notable accomplishment and growth of Massey Cancer Center, but I also have the pleasure of sharing the successful culmination of the Research for Life Campaign and outlining the results of your remarkable investment.
Not only did Research for Life surpass the $100 million dollar goal that was set forth and finished with more than $108 million dollars in eight years, but our capstone year resulted in more than $13 million raised from philanthropic sources. This success would not have been possible without our most loyal Massey advocates and supporters. Beginning the Research for Life Campaign in 2007, we set out to fund the people, programs, and places that would continue to set Massey apart in both research and patient care in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am pleased to share with you that we have accomplished much in the last eight years—including successful recruitment of physician-researchers, funding critical physical space to house these recruits and supporting programs and projects that allow for new research ideas and clinical trials.
Research for Life stands for possibility. It stands for a philosophy that is lived every day inside our laboratory and clinic walls, as well as within our community. Research for Life is the promise and the hope of a cancer-free future. As we take a brief moment to reflect on how far we have come, we are ever-grateful to know you share our continued commitment to investment in progress and discovery. While this particular campaign has concluded, our work has not and Research for Life will live on as the driving force behind our mission.
As always, I am proud of our achievements, grateful for your partnership and excited to continue on our path of progress together.
Gordon D. Ginder, MD
Lipman Chair in Oncology
Director, VCU Massey Cancer Center
With the support of Research for Life Campaign funds, 69 new cancer researchers joined Massey since 2010.
PEOPLE Research for Life launched an unprecedented expansion of talent that focused on the recruitment and retention of nationally recognized researchers and physician-scientists. Thanks to the donors who supported the portion of the campaign dedicated to “People,” Massey was able to fast-track key recruitments of leading scientists and retain crucial expertise and talent to maintain collaborative momentum. These gifts allowed Massey to provide reliable financial support and resources scientists need to fuel their work, develop their ideas, and ensure that they can focus on their research, which will lead to earlier detection, improved prevention and better treatment options for cancer.
The strength of an NCI-designated cancer center lies within its team of researchers. Like an army fiercely battling a stubborn opponent, Massey’s battalion of scientists must be carefully constructed, properly fueled and unrelenting in its commitment to the mission of finding better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer.
No one understands the importance of the people behind the science more than those whose lives have been affected by cancer. After both True Luck and her daughter, Terrell Luck Harrigan, were treated at Massey, their entire family joined together to ensure advancements in cancer research continue.
In 2009, the family created the Harrigan, Haw, Luck Families Chair in Cancer Research—a monumental contribution to the Research for Life Campaign’s priority of funding 37 new physician-scientists.
In 2013, the endowed chair was awarded to renowned breast cancer expert, Dr. Charles Geyer. Recruited as Massey’s associate director for clinical research, Geyer plays a key role in defining the strategic vision for expanding Massey’s menu of clinical trials.
In total, more than sixty new experts were recruited to Massey during the eight-year Research for Life Campaign. “The growth of our clinical trials is a direct result of investment from the community,” says Geyer. “It is an honor to carry this family’s name with me as I treat patients and continue my pursuit for better ways to treat breast cancer.”
“Our family believes that supporting Massey is investing in the global fight against cancer,” says Harrigan. “Dr. Geyer embodies this belief and we are proud to be connected to his work.”
PLACES With a mission of delivering cancer research from the laboratory to the bedside, physical space that fosters collaboration is essential. As a result, providing such space to recently recruited and existing physician-scientists was an important element of the Research for Life Campaign. The Massey Research Pavilion and the Shared Resource Laboratory in the McGlothlin Medical Education Center facilitated the growth of Massey’s team of cancer investigators and its required infrastructure. Donors who supported “Places” provided necessary funding to establish this new hub for clinical research, clinical trial administration, and hematology, oncology and palliative care faculty, allowing Massey‘s science to advance and, with it, opportunities to deliver new options to patients.
Collaborative spaces are paramount to maximizing communication and fostering ideas between researchers. Such value of functional space is a familiar concept for local developers East West Communities. “Our mission is to provide ideal communities throughout the region,” says Kathy Pearson, COO and CFO of East West Communities. “There’s nothing more ideal than a healthy, cancer-free community.” It was this conviction that led to the company’s decision to invest in the Research for Life Campaign.
The Massey Research Pavilion is comprised of the top two floors and the shared resource laboratory located in the McGlothlin Medical Education Center, which opened in 2013. The 27,000 square foot pavilion serves as the hub for clinical research, clinical trial administration, hematology, oncology and palliative care, and was designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
To honor their investment, the 12th floor of the space bears the name of Friends of Massey Street of Hope and East West Communities Foundation. It is a source of enormous pride for the East West team, who didn’t just provide funds, but hosted and coordinated the 2015 Massey Street of Hope in Hallsley, a massive luxury home show to benefit Massey and engage thousands throughout the community.
The benefit of Massey’s new space is clear. “The research pavilion has given our team access to one another in a way that drastically improves the way we conduct business and collaborate,” says Steven Grossman, MD, PhD, deputy director of Massey, whose office now resides on the 11th floor. “Efficiency and the opportunity to talk regularly and often with our colleagues will prove key in the advancement of our research program.”
PROGRAMS Ensuring the fastest possible pace of progress in cancer research is crucial. That is why we organized Research for Life around Massey’s five scientific programs: Cancer Cell Signaling, Radiation Biology and Oncology, Cancer Molecular Genetics, Cancer Prevention and Control, and Developmental Therapeutics. Donors who supported the “Programs” component of the campaign designed their gifts to help Massey ensure adequate resources for all five of these critical areas. Gifts focused on funding new clinical trials, establishing a unique incentive program to encourage collaboration, the expansion of a clinical trials affiliate network and the delivery of clinical care and cancer prevention and control research to underserved populations.
A scientist has an idea. That idea becomes a discovery, which is translated into a clinical trial. If proven effective, a new, better way to treat cancer is born. The formula is simple, but the clinical trial process alone can take twenty years or more.
As Pam and Bill Royall learned about the time and cost involved in clinical trials, they grew convinced that they could lend their business acumen to help uncover new ways to shorten the timeline and enable Massey to deliver new treatments faster. The result was the Accelerate Clinical Trials (ACT) Now for Cancer Research Fund.
Funds invested by the Royalls through the ACT Now fund have been put to work removing bottlenecks in the cancer center’s infrastructure for researchers and incentivizing their innovation. Four years after the fund’s creation, the results have been notable. In just a single year, the total number of protocols activated at Massey grew from four to 14, and the average time from clinical trial start to submission was reduced from 15 ½ months to eight months.
Within its “programs” component, the Research for Life Campaign’s goals included funding the development of six new Massey investigator-initiated phase I and phase II clinical trials. Over the life of the campaign, donors helped Massey far exceed this goal, with 30 such trials initiated.
“Pam and I saw similarities between Massey’s challenges with clinical trial processes and those we have seen in business processes,” Bill Royall explains. “The improvements funded by ACT Now are not simply a result of our funding, but of our collaborative discussions with Dr. Ginder and his team. We hope others will find similar ways to support Massey’s critical mission.”
$13.1 million received in new gifts and pledges
14,602 donors made Massey a philanthropic priority
7,593 of these donors made first-time gifts
47 new treatment clinical trials opened
5 new phase I clinical trials
11 new Cancer Prevention and Control studies opened
To make a contribution or inquire about ways to give or special opportunities, please call the Office of Development and External Relations at (804) 828-1450.
Contact our patient coordinators at (804) 828-5116 or 1-877-4MASSEY.
To get involved with special events and fundraisers, call (804) 827-9486. To volunteer to serve patients, call (804) 828-8709.