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Release Date: November 14, 2006

Nov. 14, 2006 - A research team at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center is one of six in the nation to share in a $120 million gift from the Ludwig Fund, named for the late shipping tycoon Daniel K. Ludwig.  Some $20 million will come to the newly-formed Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins this year as well as a lifetime annual commitment of $2 million.

“We recognize that it takes more than a good idea to drive future discoveries in cancer research,” says Bert Vogelstein, M.D., co-director of the Hopkins center. “It takes resources and we’re grateful to the Ludwig Fund for its support.” Vogelstein and co-director Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D., were among the pioneers in uncovering genetic mutations responsible for the onset and development of cancer.

Most recently, with Ludwig Fund support, their team completed the first map of mutations found in colon and breast cancers.  "Johns Hopkins is revered as one of the outstanding institutions for cancer research in the world, and Drs. Vogelstein and Kinzler have been mighty contributors to this renown,” says Lloyd J. Old, M.D., Chairman of the Ludwig Fund’s Trustees. “Their work on the genetics of human cancer forms much of the basis for our current understanding and has identified a plethora of potential new therapeutic targets for cancer. The trustees are delighted that Drs. Vogelstein and Kinzler and their outstanding colleagues at Johns Hopkins will become an integral part of the collaborative Ludwig Cancer network of Ludwig Centers and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research." The six Ludwig Centers will collaborate with the Fund’s Institute with branches and affiliate sites in more than 15 countries worldwide.

At Johns Hopkins, Ludwig funds have supported two named professorships in cancer research.  This latest gift to the Vogelstein-Kinzler laboratory is earmarked for research on gene maps for other tumors types and charting the routes of mutant gene pathways to develop better treatments and tests for the disease. Says Kinzler, “The Ludwig Fund has given us the tools to explore comprehensive genetic studies so that we can make a collective impact against this disease.” Daniel Ludwig’s shipping empire was the largest in the United States during 1960’s and 70’s when its assets were reported at several billion.

He died in 1992 after creating the Ludwig Institute, which has supported cancer research efforts totaling $1.1 billion. Kinzler and Vogelstein are consistently ranked by Science Watch magazine as two of the world’s most highly-cited scientists with more than 100,000 citations in peer-reviewed journals, a common measure of scientific impact.  Their work led to blood tests widely available for diagnosing hereditary forms of colon cancer, and current research is focused on developing simple tests to detect early non-hereditary forms of cancer. Along with Hopkins, the five other Ludwig Centers to share in the current award are: the Dana-Farber Cancer Center/Harvard, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. --JHMI--

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Media Contact: Vanessa Wasta
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