Members of the John C. Dumphy Foundation presented a check at the Stony Brook Medicine Cancer Center for $500,000.00

Financing New Discovery in Cancer Treatment and Prevention

The John C. Dunphy Private Foundation establishes Cancer Innovation Fund at Stony Brook Medicine

The first documented case of cancer dates back to 3000 BC and is described in the Edwin Smith Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian textbook on trauma surgery, as having “no treatment.” Fast forward more than 5,000 years and cancer remains an incredibly resilient and difficult disease to understand, prevent and cure.

But we’re getting close. At the Stony Brook Cancer Center, researchers are pioneering studies that are gaining worldwide attention.

“Stony Brook is a disciplined and first-class organization that supports a culture of people who work to change lives,” said Karlyn Grasso, director of Public Relations for the John C. Dunphy Private Foundation. It’s this sort of next-generation research the Dunphy foundation is eager to advance and they’ve underscored their commitment with a $500,000 pledge to the Stony Brook Cancer Center. The donation will establish a first-of-its-kind Cancer Innovation Fund at Stony Brook Medicine.

The gift is a shot in the arm to University cancer researchers. When junior faculty researchers might otherwise remain conceptually conservative in proposals, the Innovation Fund will instead encourage submissions that have the potential for groundbreaking discovery.

Renowned physician-scientist Yusuf Hannun, MD, director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center and Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research, will tap into the Innovation Fund to incubate and accelerate cancer discovery through the recruitment of the world’s most prominent minds in cancer research. The fund will also help the Center to acquire leading-edge technology and further advance research to better understand cancer science, treatment and patient care.

Dr. Hannun’s career has spanned more than 30 years as a cancer clinician and researcher investigating the lipid mediators of cancer cell signaling. “By investing in the health and well-being of the local community, the Dunphy Private Foundation recognizes a great need and a deep commitment to improving the quality of life for individuals in Suffolk County and beyond,” Dr. Hannun said, “We’re incredibly grateful.”

These crucial funding sources would not be possible without the trailblazing philanthropy so generously provided by local leaders and foundations. Government grants and funding opportunities are more likely to be awarded to research that is backed by years of successful scientific inquiry, leaving philanthropy to kickstart potentially life-saving investigations.

For instance, the philanthropically-funded Kavita and Lalit Bahl Center for Metabolomics and Imaging provided a team of researchers the tools and funds needed to discover a new metabolomic pathway that explains how a high fat diet can cause a complex of certain proteins to form in the liver. The discovery has added implications to cell death resistance and therefore the development of cancer. It also may help inform how cancer cells multiply and resist attack.

In another area, philanthropy has allowed Stony Brook Cancer Center researchers the ability to tackle breast cancer via progressive drug-based prevention studies in high-risk women. Specifically, these studies aim to change the microenvironment of the breast so women become less susceptible to the disease.

Grasso noted that it was important for the foundation’s board to contribute in this way. “We have to do something because we can do something,” Grasso continued, “The amount of people on Long Island and beyond who Stony Brook serves is significant. The University always make it a priority to be a leader for the local community, and the Foundation shares in that mission.”

Dexter A. Bailey Jr., senior vice president for University Advancement, noted that investments like these guarantee an uninterrupted flow of essential and life-saving work that inevitably leads to better care for patients in Stony Brook’s immediate neighborhood and across Long Island.

“This philanthropic partnership will bolster the work of Dr. Hannun and his team who are pursuing paradigm-shifting scientific innovation,” Bailey said, “His research places some of the world’s best minds on a bold trajectory that could move the state of cancer research from prevention to cure.”

In recognition of their support, The John C. Dunphy Private Foundation will be included on the inaugural Medical and Research Translation (MART) Donor wall. In addition, Stony Brook will name the new MART Cancer Infusion Bay in honor of The John C. Dunphy Private Foundation.

To date, more than 42,700 donors have contributed over $540 million toward The Campaign for Stony Brook’s $600 million goal, the largest in SUNY history. Stony Brook programs and research endeavors span the scientific and arts spectrum. What area are you interested in? Support your passion and make your contribution today.

Photo Caption: From left: Lina Obeid, MD, Dean of Research, Stony Brook University School of Medicine; Patricia Thompson-Carino, associate director for Basic Research, Stony Brook Cancer Center; Alison Stopeck, MD, associate director for Translational Research, Stony Brook Cancer Center; Yusuf Hannun, MD, Joel Strum Kenny Endowed Professor in Cancer Research, Director, Stony Brook Cancer Center; Frank Grasso, president and CEO, John C. Dunphy Private Foundation; Karyl Grasso, director of Public Relations, John C. Dunphy Private Foundation; and Henry Fiorello, board member, John C. Dunphy Private Foundation.

— Jordan Chapman