Columbia dedicates new 300,000 sq. ft. Irving Cancer Research Center


New facility doubles Columbia's lab space for cancer research

New York, NY (May 5, 2005) Columbia University Medical Center today announced the dedication of the Irving Cancer Research Center, a new 300,000 square foot facility located at the medical center's campus in northern Manhattan.

Developed through the generous support of Herbert and Florence Irving, longtime supporters of Columbia University's health sciences, the new space doubles Columbia's laboratory space for cancer research. The building contains nine floors of research facilities, as well as classrooms and the Avon Foundation Breast Imaging Center for medically underserved women.

The new building was dedicated today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception, hosted by Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and Executive Vice President Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., who is also dean of the faculty of medicine at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a cancer survivor, gave the keynote address.

"This combination of the greatest scientific minds and world class research facilities will insure Columbia University's future as one of the leading cancer research institutes in the country," said President Bollinger. "Columbia continues to make groundbreaking research advances today that will lead to tomorrow's advances and cures."

"Herbert and Florence Irving are great friends of Columbia University and a lasting part of our medical center's legacy," said Dean Fischbach. "Their ongoing support, especially of our cancer researchers, has been a tremendous help throughout the years as we continually strive for new developments that will fight cancer."

"Florence and I have made it our top commitment to do whatever we can to help people afflicted with these serious diseases, and to contribute to the research that will ultimately eradicate cancer entirely," said Mr. Irving. "This contribution demonstrates not only our commitment to this research, but our confidence in Columbia University Medical Center as the leading institution to conduct it."

"This new facility enhances the Cancer Center's capacity to develop interdisciplinary 'team science'," said Dr. von Eschenbach.

The Irving Cancer Research Center (ICRC) is dedicated entirely to investigators conducting disease-specific research of many cancers, including brain, breast, gastric, pancreatic, prostate, lymphoma and tumor immunology. The ICRC is part of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), which encompasses all cancer-related pre-clinical and clinical research, prevention, treatment and education efforts, at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. The HICCC is one of only three NIH-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in New York State, and one of 39 nationwide.

"This new facility will reinvigorate our Cancer Center, strengthening our efforts to revolutionize cancer therapy in the next 10 to 20 years," said Riccardo Dalla-Favera, M.D., director of the HICCC and one of the world's leading cancer geneticists and lymphoma researchers. "This is a historical moment in our cancer research. In the last 20 years enormous progress has been made in understanding how cancer develops, but our discoveries have just begun to improve therapies for patients."

"This new research facility will help assemble our cancer researchers under the visionary leadership of Dr. Dalla-Favera, fostering collaboration and the translation of new ideas from clinical observations to new therapeutic options, from bedside to bench," said David Hirsh, Ph.D., executive vice president for research and professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University.

"As we move toward an era of personalized oncology, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, using this new model for cancer research, is primed to make significant contributions toward eliminating the suffering and death due to cancer," added Dr. von Eschenbach.

Herbert and Florence Irving are the leading benefactors in the history of CUMC. Their extraordinary series of major gifts in support of research, education and patient care dates back more than two decades, beginning with their generous endowment of the Irving Scholars for young researchers and the Irving Center for Clinical Research.

Since the 1980s, they have continued sponsoring innovative projects and programs in medical research and clinical care, with an emphasis on cancer, which include the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Herbert Irving Pavilion, a clinical facility on the Columbia campus.

In the 1990s, Mr. and Mrs. Irvings gave funds to create the Herbert Irving Professorship and four additional professorships. Their recent gifts include the expansion of the Irving Oncology Outpatient Unit and the creation of the Irving Oncology Inpatient Unit. In 2001, they donated significant funding to help construct the Irving Cancer Research Center. To date, Mr. and Mrs. Irving have committed nearly $100 million to the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Mr. and Mrs. Irving's philanthropic activities go beyond medicine. They are prominent supporters of the arts, endowing galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Mrs. Irving sits on the board.

Mr. Irving is a co-founder and former vice chairman of Sysco Corp., a Fortune 500 company that is the largest marketer and distributor of food service products in the United States. Sysco (Systems and Services Company) evolved from Global Frozen Foods, a business started by his brother-in-law in the 1940s. After Mr. Irving returned from service in World War II, he built Global into the largest frozen food distributorship in New York City. In 1959, Global and eight other distributors from across the country created the successful partnership known today as Sysco.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.