Timely boost for cancer research
Minnesota Masonic Charities provides a major influx of funding to cancer research at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

Ten years ago—on April 10, 2008—Minnesota Masonic Charities signed a historic gift commitment of $65 million to the University of Minnesota for cancer research, and the U named the Masonic Cancer Center in the organization’s honor. Since making that pledge—the largest ever made to the U of M—Minnesota Masonic Charities has provided a steady stream of annual funding to the Masonic Cancer Center, allowing the center’s 500+ member scientists to pursue novel ideas and keep their leading-edge research on track.

Now, impressed by scientific progress in the last decade and intrigued by the potential of precision medicine, Minnesota Masonic Charities has decided to accelerate its pledge payments and provide an influx of $25 million for the Masonic Cancer Center to use over the next two years.

“We have come to understand that we have an enormous opportunity,” says Eric J. Neetenbeek, president and CEO of Minnesota Masonic Charities. “What we contemplate today was not possible 10 years ago.”

For the Masonic Cancer Center, this means an inflow of support for precision-medicine-focused efforts such as:

  • predicting how individuals will respond to certain therapies,

  • using the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells,

  • identifying foods and chemicals in the environment that cause and promote cancer,

  • developing methods that more precisely assess cancer risk,

  • making the most promising cancer treatments available to all Minnesotans—close to home—through the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network,

  • uncovering the role of viruses and bacteria in both causing and treating cancer, and

  • evaluating through the 10,000 Families Study how lifestyle and genetics together contribute to health or disease.

“This critical and timely funding boost will allow Masonic Cancer Center members to pursue research into a person’s individual risk of cancer, develop precision therapies for cancer treatment, create new tools to study cancer, and recruit the best minds in science to get the job done,” says Masonic Cancer Center director Douglas Yee, M.D. 

Learn how Minnesota Masonic Charities supports the University’s ambitious 10,000 Families Study, which investigates how genetics and lifestyle contribute to health and disease, including cancer.

Photo of Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building by Shawn Sullivan

Related stories