By Kathy Clute
Photography by Sam Ogden
Ten years ago, Dana-Farber leaders created the Faculty Research Fund (FRF), a unique financing mechanism that pools philanthropic resources to accelerate bold scientific discovery. Each time a restricted gift is made—one directed to a specific project or program—10 percent of that gift is allocated to the FRF to support investments that ensure progress across all cancers.
In fiscal year 2023, Dana-Farber allocated more than $11 million to the FRF for institutional priorities that cut across disciplines and facilitate breakthroughs. Cumulatively, the FRF has deployed $66.2 million to advance our research mission since it was established in 2013.
Projects to receive funding via the FRF this year include the Center for Precision Immuno-Oncology (CPIO), which fosters collaborative, translational research among lab and clinical investigators in many disease centers. Physician-scientists from the CPIO developed the NeoVax vaccine that has been proven effective against advanced melanoma and is being tested in other cancers.
Meanwhile, the Center for Pediatric Cancer Therapeutics, which also received funds from the FRF, has achieved remarkable advances in epigenetics and genomics that are already helping children in the clinic. In addition, the FRF is funding a multiyear data curation project to make high-quality patient data across all cancer types more readily available for research studies.
None of this progress would be possible without our esteemed faculty members, who are among the world’s most exceptional researchers. Their dedication to scientific discovery and patient care routinely leads to paradigm-shifting approaches for diagnosing, preventing, treating, and curing cancer. The FRF makes it possible for Institute leaders to recruit and retain early career and senior faculty and to fill gaps in grant funding that would otherwise compromise projects with the potential to save and extend lives.