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Stanford receives $90 million gift to continue fight against cancer

NEW.010714.cancerResearchStanford announced Monday it had received a $90 million gift to support cancer stem cell research at the School of Medicine.

The money came as part of a $540 million contribution made on behalf of the late Daniel Ludwig, a billionaire American shipping magnate, to six institutions.

The gift is not Ludwig’s first to Stanford.

Including the latest contribution, Ludwig has now donated $150 million to the University with the Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research and Medicine at Stanford — established in 2006 — named after him. The center investigates the treatment of cancer from the perspective of stem cell biology and medicine.

The center’s current director, Irving Weissman M.D.’65, told the Stanford Report that when most expressed skepticism about cancer stem cell research, Ludwig took a chance. Scientists now believe cancer stem cells may lead to relapses in cancer patients.

“Ludwig funded cancer stem cell research at a time when it was unpopular and disbelieved,” Weisman said. “Its support has enabled us to take a discovery that was first made in leukemia and apply it to all cancers and to develop new immunotherapies to targets revealed in these cancer stem cells.”