December 19, 2017

Walther Cancer Foundation gift to Purdue cancer center to have impact for years to come

Ratliff Walther Timothy Ratliff, left, director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, works with graduate student Renee Vickman in the Hansen Life Sciences Lab on campus. A $10 million matching gift from the Walther Cancer Foundation will help ensure that this kind of research continues well into the future. (Purdue University photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Center for Cancer Research has received a $10 million matching-funds gift from the Indianapolis-based Walther Cancer Foundation to advance its research in drug discovery, treatments and potential cures.

The gift, announced Tuesday (Dec. 19), is designed to inspire endowed gifts to Purdue’s center to sustain it throughout its existence. It is the latest gift from the Walther Cancer Foundation, which has given more than $16 million in grants to Purdue over the years, including $4.2 million in the last three years before its latest gift.

“We couldn’t be more grateful to the Walther Foundation,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “Nor could we be more proud of the work being done at our cancer center, which has generated 10 potential drugs in clinical trials, with 31 in the pipeline, and technology that has created 15 startup companies over the last seven years.”

Under the direction of Timothy Ratliff, the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, the gift will be available for a variety of needs, such as faculty recruitment and retainment, needed equipment, and research in such areas as drug discovery and development; breast, pancreatic, prostate and other forms of cancer; and the role obesity plays in the disease. The funds will not be used for renovation or expansion of current facilities.

“The collaboration between Purdue University Center for Cancer Research and the Walther Cancer Foundation is longstanding,” said Thomas W. Grein, the Walther Cancer Foundation’s CEO and president. “The foundation, through this matching grant, is seeking to leverage our contributions with the support of others to continue to build the capabilities of the center. The earnings from the combined endowment of $20 million will be under the direction of the center director. This allows flexibility in achieving center goals in a more meaningful way than through a Walther Cancer Foundation directed grant alone. We are excited about this new opportunity to work with the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.”  

Ratliff said, “We greatly appreciate the Walther Cancer Foundation matching endowment gift. The gift is transformative for our center in that it will enhance our ability to recruit outstanding faculty and enable us to better support new and innovative research.”

Purdue’s Center for Cancer Research has more than 100 faculty scientists from a range of academic disciplines who are working on advancements of new and better cancer treatments.

About the Walther Cancer Foundation

The Indianapolis-based Walther Cancer Foundation is a private grant-making foundation that supports and promotes interdisciplinary and inter-institutional cancer research, both bench and clinical. The clinical research it supports encompasses clinical trials as well as behavioral studies, the latter as part of the foundation’s commitment to Supportive Oncology. The Walther Foundation has two primary goals: to support cancer research with the aim of discovering better treatments, if not cures, and to develop a comprehensive approach for supporting patients with cancer and their families. Since its founding, almost $140 million has been invested in cancer-focused research.

About the Purdue Cancer Center

Since 1978, the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research has been a National Cancer Institute-designated basic-research cancer center. Only seven institutions in the United States have earned this title. Being a basic-research center means it does not treat cancer patients directly. Its work focuses on investigating cancers where they begin – at the cellular level – to investigate the cause of, and cure for, one of the most devastating killers of our time. Doctors and scientists throughout the world use the center’s discoveries to develop methods, medicines and medical devices to save and enhance patient lives. 

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, 

Sources: Mitch Daniels,

Timothy Ratliff, 765-494-9129,

Thomas W. Grein,

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