UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

October 2017

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, the advancement of our research and clinical practice depends on the support of our staff, patients, donors, leaders, and our community at large. Time and time again, our UPMC cancer community is humbled by the partnership of our generous donors and supporters.

Late last month, the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC announced that the Henry L. Hillman Foundation has committed $30 million in ongoing support of the Hillman Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research Program — $3 million annually over the next 10 years. Read the details of this investment in our work.

This research program is housed at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and works to cultivate novel anti-cancer methods that improve cancer treatment, detection and prevention worldwide — it has directly supported the research of 100 scientists to date. In fact, I was fortunate to be one of the very first recipients of the Hillman Fellowship more than 12 years ago, in support of my translational research studies aimed at developing novel immunotherapies for head and neck cancer.

This recent $30 million gift is the single largest donation our institution has received in its 32-year history. As such, it will be used — and partially already has been allotted appropriately — to accelerate high-priority scientific research, such as linking novel cancer genomics and immunology to personalized patient care. These funds now provide much-needed support to make many past and ongoing projects possible. We are deeply appreciative of this impactful contribution and our long-standing partnership with Hillman Family Foundations.

As we continue to build momentum in this revolutionary time in cancer research, we will depend upon the support and generous spirit of our community at large. I was witness to this generosity once again at our annual Hillman Gala held last month, which was attended by nearly 900 local leaders and longtime supporters who have contributed critical funds for our cancer center.

As always, we are overwhelmed with gratitude to our community for demonstrating support and good faith in our research and clinical efforts. We will continue to work hard every day, resolute in our purpose to accelerate new discoveries and breakthroughs that will enable a future without cancer.


Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD