Jan. 8, 2014

$75M gift creates Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell

Meyer family, Laurie Glimcher, Lewis Cantley
Roger Tully
From left: Laurie Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College; Sandra Meyer; Edward Meyer '48; Lewis Cantley, the Meyer Director of the Cancer Center at Weill Cornell; Anthony Meyer.

NEW YORK — Weill Cornell Medical College has received a $75 million gift from Sandra and Edward Meyer ’48 and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Foundation to enhance the medical college’s distinguished cancer research and care programs.

The gift creates the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, led by pre-eminent cancer researcher Dr. Lewis Cantley. The center uses precision medicine and other cutting-edge biomedical approaches to spur and translate research breakthroughs into advanced therapies for patients.

In honor of the Meyer family’s gift, Weill Cornell will name its flagship building at 1300 York Ave. the Sandra and Edward Meyer Research and Education Building. The building is the main artery to Weill Cornell’s adjoining structures, a bridge that links the medical college’s mission of education, research and clinical care.

“Sandy, our children, Meg and Tony, and I gave careful consideration to which New York institution was best poised to produce breakthroughs in cancer, and Weill Cornell was the obvious choice due to its exceptional roster of translational, cutting-edge scientists and commitment to building its oncology research enterprise,” Edward Meyer said. “Our daughter’s experience working with Dr. Cantley many years ago solidified our lifelong respect for him, and we are thrilled and humbled to have him lead the Meyer Cancer Center. We can think of no better investment that will make as big a difference in the world, and we know that together we can do great things for cancer patients and their families.”

“We are deeply grateful to Sandra and Edward Meyer for their transformative gift, which will enable Weill Cornell to expand its world-class enterprise in cancer research and clinical care,” said Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. “Cancer is a disease that touches everyone’s lives, and with Ed and Sandy’s generous support, we will be able to rapidly accelerate our pursuit of groundbreaking treatments and therapies for our patients.”

“As longtime friends of Ed and Sandy, it gives Joan and me great pleasure to witness the Meyer family’s exceptional investment in Weill Cornell and its pre-eminent cancer research enterprise,” said Sanford I. Weill, chairman of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers. “With their gift, the Meyer family has shown their steadfast dedication to enhancing human health and leaving a lasting mark on science and medicine.”

“All of us at Cornell – in Ithaca, in New York and beyond – are profoundly grateful for Ed and Sandy‘s thoughtful support and the difference it will make for cancer patients and their families,” said President David J. Skorton. “As cancer research and treatment move increasingly toward therapies that are tailored to patients’ individual genetic profiles and needs, the Meyer family’s gift allows us to make the necessary investments to advance this groundbreaking area of medicine and realize its promise.”

Technological advances enabling scientists to conduct detailed molecular analyses of the damaged genes in cancer have revolutionized cancer research, revealing new opportunities to develop therapies that target the events driving tumor growth in individual patients.

The Meyer Cancer Center champions a dramatic shift in the paradigm for translational biomedical research and clinical care. It will engage basic scientists, pathologists, bioinformaticians, surgeons, radiation oncologists and radiologists to collaborate daily to move these discoveries from the bench to clinical trials and ultimately into therapies for patients.

The center will enhance three core research areas: a centralized biobank, cancer genomics and computational biology, which are crucial to physicians who base each patient’s treatment plan or enrollment in clinical trials on his or her genetic profile.

In addition, the Meyer family’s gift will enable Weill Cornell to continue its efforts in recruiting the world’s best and brightest minds in cancer research and clinical care, while also providing seed money for innovative research projects.

A graduate of Cornell with a Bachelor of Arts in economics with honors, Edward Meyer is the former chairman, president and CEO of Grey Global Group, and is now chairman of Ocean Road Advisors Inc.

Sandra Meyer is a board member of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival on Long Island, is a member of the Women and Foreign Policy Advisory Council of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is active in nonprofit work for women and land conservation.

While this is the Meyer family’s first gift to Weill Cornell, in 2012 Edward Meyer funded the Edward H. Meyer Professorship of Economics at Cornell.

Alyssa Sunkin is a writer for Weill Cornell External Affairs.