Henry Ford Health System received an anonymous $20 million gift, the largest in its history, that will fund the Henry Ford Pancreatic Cancer Center, the tentative name for a global consortium of researchers that will seek to develop better methods for earlier detection of the disease that has a five-year survival rate of only 8 percent.
Officials for Henry Ford said the donor wishes to remain anonymous, but that the family is well-known to Henry Ford executives and physicians and has given multiple times in the past without seeking personal credit. The previous largest anonymous gift was $6 million.
"We are grateful for this transformational gift that will allow Henry Ford to bring the best minds in the world together to shine an important light on pancreatic cancer," Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, said in a statement. "It marks a crucial step in advancing pancreatic cancer research with the goal of increasing survivorship for patients diagnosed with this terrible disease."
David Kwon, M.D., director of Henry Ford Hospital's multidisciplinary pancreas clinic and a researcher, said the pancreatic cancer research consortium is recruiting four fellow medical research universities and medical centers in the U.S. to form a collaborative to develop pancreatic cancer identification and treatment breakthroughs. He said the consortium will also recruit other partners in Europe and the Middle East.