PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Advancing the Pacific Northwest’s growing impact on health care innovation and the fight against cancer, Legacy Health Foundation announced today a transformational pledge of $5 million from the Wayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation. The grant will fund a potentially game-changing cancer research project underway at Legacy Research Institute, which is part of Legacy Health, the region’s largest, locally-owned nonprofit health system.
The research, led by Detlev Boison, Ph.D., Dow Chair of Neurology and director of neurobiology research and basic & translational research at Legacy Research Institute, and Serene Perkins, M.D., director of surgical and clinical research at Legacy Research Institute, targets cancer by manipulating adenosine kinase, an enzyme that controls cell growth. The Kuni Foundation previously helped fund a research position related to the project with a $50,000 grant.
"We are grateful for this significant seed investment, which will help Legacy’s scientists continue on their promising path of finding a cure for cancer,” said Maureen Bradley, senior vice president and chief development officer of Legacy Health Office. “And, we are proud to partner with a local organization that also places a high priority on ensuring life-saving cancer treatment is affordable and accessible for all patients.”
As the cost of cancer treatment continues to escalate, the Kuni Foundation and Legacy Health Foundation collaborated on a unique approach designed to expand affordability and accessibility for all patients. The Kuni Foundation has specified that a portion of all future proceeds derived from Legacy’s adenosine kinase research be directed toward affordable access to cancer treatment for all patients.
“We are excited about the entrepreneurial approach to this work and the opportunity to collaborate with a local community partner who leads with their values and is invested in driving unique solutions to curing cancer that could one day save countless lives,” said Greg Goodwin, board chair of the Kuni Foundation.
Wayne Kuni, founder of Kuni Automotive, was a forward-thinking entrepreneur widely known and respected for his commitment to the community and to mentorship. Wayne died of cancer in 2006, and the Kuni Foundation has made cancer research a key funding priority.
“Funding early stage research is absolutely crucial to continuing the momentum of discovery that we are experiencing in the field of cancer treatment,” said Angela Hult, president of the Kuni Foundation. “Philanthropy has a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to explore the tributaries of ‘what if?’ and we are thrilled to collaborate with Legacy Research on their cutting-edge discoveries that could change the landscape for patients and their families.”
Legacy Research Institute is a state-of-the-art research facility that aims to bring the most advanced health care treatment modalities and cutting-edge technologies quickly on-line, where they can be applied to benefit patients. “Philanthropy is a vital spark for innovation and scientific breakthroughs,” said Joe Frascella, Ph.D., vice president of Legacy Research. “Taking findings in the laboratory and transforming it to medical care – that’s what Legacy Research does best.”
Legacy Health Foundation raises funds for Legacy Health’s system-wide initiatives and programs. To learn more about how you can help support Legacy Health’s Cancer Research Initiative, contact Legacy Health’s Office of Philanthropy at 503-415-4700 or visit www.legacyhealthgiving.org.
Based in Vancouver, Washington, the Wayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation funds cancer research and supports programs and initiatives that enhance the lives of adults with developmental disabilities. Learn more at www.kunifoundation.org or via Twitter at @KuniFoundation.