From the President

From the President

Together, we can create the future of cancer medicine.

Russel E. Kaufman, M.D.

Dr. Russel KaufmanThe past, as they say, is merely prelude. Forty years ago, The Wistar Institute was designated a Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Wistar was among the first of such designees in the nation, and the very first in Philadelphia, a city with a proud cancer research heritage.

Through the NCI designation and the significant funding it brings, Wistar has created a top-tier research infrastructure that allows us to recruit some of the most innovative scientific minds in the country. Together, they seek to solve the most intractable problems surrounding cancer and devise new methods to treat the disease in all of its forms.

In this issue of Focus, Wistar Institute Cancer Center Director Dario C. Altieri, M.D., outlines the progress the cancer community has made over the last 40 years. In the early 1970s, cancer medicine was still in its infancy and the biology of cancer function still a black box. I hope his discussion of the future of targeted medicine will help you better understand the remarkable success of the NCI Cancer Program.

The Wistar Institute Vaccine Center is also a jewel of our history and a vital part of our future. Under the leadership of Hildegund C. J. Ertl, M.D., the Vaccine Center continues to explore new technologies to stimulate the immune system against disease. Read about how Ertl’s innovative new therapeutic HPV cancer vaccine is progressing, and how Wistar has signed an important development agreement with a Chinese biomedical company, which will allow for clinical trials in what is called the largest cancer hospital on the planet.

Here at Wistar, our constant reminder of a promising future is the ongoing construction outside our windows. As you will read in this issue, our board unanimously chose to name our new seven-story research building the Robert and Penny Fox Tower after our two most stalwart supporters.

Your contributions to the Building Wistar, Changing the World campaign are helping to fund the creation of both the tower and the recruitment of high-level research scientists who will occupy its laboratories. On behalf of the Institute, allow me to say how grateful we are to those of you who have joined in our campaign. The campaign is gaining momentum as construction progresses, and I invite you to join us and share our excitement. Together, we can create the future of cancer medicine.