LOUISVILLE, Ky.–The James Graham Brown Foundation has committed $15 million–the largest single gift in the university’s history–to support cancer research and care at the University of Louisville. The funds will be used to support a number of program, faculty and facility needs at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in the Louisville Medical Center.

    In addition, at least $5 million of the gift will be matched by funds from the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund–or “Bucks for Brains”–leveraging the total gift to at least $20 million.

    “This is the second time that the Brown Foundation and Bucks for Brains have made a major impact on cancer research and care in Louisville,” explained university President John Shumaker. “In 1999, the foundation matched state dollars to support the recruitment of Dr. Donald Miller as cancer center director.”

    The Foundation also has funded two additional endowed professorships at the center since Miller’s recruitment.

    Since Miller’s arrival, the Cancer Center has experienced explosive growth in size of faculty, funding and research productivity. In just over two years, 30 cancer research and clinical faculty have joined the university while research grant funding has grown from $300,000 to $25.7 million. The center also has identified five core cancer research areas to which resources are being devoted.

    Miller said, “I couldn’t be more pleased about the progress we’ve made and–thanks to the Brown Foundation–the progress we will soon make in becoming a nationally recognized force in cancer research and care.”

    University and center officials also believe that the gift, in addition to the recently announced cancer partnership with Norton Healthcare, will help the center achieve its goal of National Cancer Institute designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Such designation can mean dramatically increased prestige for the institution as well as the potential for increased research support and clinical trials.

    “NCI designation is absolutely attainable,” continued Miller, who joined U of L from the University of Alabama-Birmingham–one of 41 NCI-designated centers in the country. “Despite our rapid progress, however, much work remains to be done. It will be necessary to continue to recruit world-class scientists to achieve this designation.”