The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation donated $10 million to Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute for advancing breast cancer research.

The Winship Cancer Institute conducts a variety of clinical trials from experimental drugs to treat the deadliest forms of breast cancer to pioneering surgical procedures. This is the first grant of this magnitude to be given to Winship.

The Glenn family was prompted to donate in gratitude for Winship’s treatment of their young daughter in 2003. The family previously also funded Ruth O’Regan, an expert in cancer research, to hold an endowed chair position.

The Glenn Family Breast Center is a subdivision of Winship that consists of a team of physicians that conduct trials and research on more than 900 breast cancer patients a year.

Walter J. Curran, Jr., executive director of Winship Cancer Institute, explained the institute’s relationship with the Glenn Family Foundation.

“The support of Glenn Family Foundation has just been fabulous,” he said. “We’ve worked with them for years in defining what our priorities are.”

Curran explained that the grant will be used primarily for three purposes. First, the money will be used to fund a number of medium-sized research projects whose goal is to generate new data in order to receive future funding for larger-scale projects.

Another priority for Winship is to attract new breast cancer researchers to the organization. They have already used the money to hire experts in the field, according to Curran.

Finally, the money will go to strengthen the research base and acquire biospecimen for tumor tissue banking.

Winship is currently doing extensive research on triple-negative breast cancer, a type of aggressive cancer that disproportionately effects African American women, whose only known treatment is chemotherapy. Curran says that he hopes to use money from the grant toward a better understanding of the disease.

The institute will also be the first in the United States to test a new brain tumor drug that will help in surgical tumor removals.

While Winship has interest in many different cancers, its target is breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women.

“As Winship’s first named center focused on a specific type of cancer, the Glenn Family Breast Center represents visionary donors who are making a lasting and tangible difference for patients facing breast cancer,” said S. Wright Caughman, executive vice president for health affairs at Emory and chief executive officer of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, which includes Winship.

Curran stressed the importance of Winship’s relationship with the Robert Winship Woodruff Foundation, whose namesake began Winship Cancer Institute in honor of his cancer-stricken mother.

Philanthropy is critical to the continued success of Winship Cancer Institute.

While it continues to receive grants from donors, it also participates in fundraising.

Emory will be holding a 5k Color Run on Feb. 16 to benefit Winship in conjunction with the Student Programming Council (SPC) and Emory Athletics.

– By Rupsha Basu  

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