UPPER EAST SIDE — Weill Cornell Medical College received a $75 million gift to help fund individualized cancer treatment during a particularly difficult time for securing government money for cancer research, officials said.
New York couple Edward and Sandra Meyer donated the money to expand the institution’s well-respected cancer research and care programs, officials at the college announced Wednesday. The school will rename its flagship building in the couple’s honor.
Dr. Lewis Cantley, former director of cancer research at Boston’s Beth Israel Medical Center, will oversee the newly named Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, officials noted.
“We are deeply thankful to the Meyer family for such an incredible gift,” said Cantley in a statement. “Their generosity will enable us to realize our goal of developing cancer treatments that capitalize on precision medicine, offering targeted, individualized care based on each patient’s tumor.”
Precision medicine focuses on the unique molecular and genetic factors that drive each patient’s disease. The goal is to develop cancer diagnostics and treatments that are tailored to each individual and therefore more effective.
The gift comes at an especially auspicious time, Cantley explained, as it has become more difficult to obtain government funding for research.
“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,” said Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, in a statement.
The Meyers chose Weill Cornell in part because their daughter had once worked with Dr. Cantley, officials said. Edward Meyer, the former chairman of a global communications company, also graduated from Cornell University.
In 2012, he funded the Edward H. Meyer Professorship of Economics at his alma mater. Through their foundation, the couple has also given to NYU Langone Medical Center, the Guggenheim and the American Jewish Committee.
The couple's decision to focus on cancer research was sparked in part by the loss of family and friends to the disease, they said.
“We can think of no better investment that will make as big a difference in the world,” Edward Meyer said in a statement. “We know that together we can do great things for cancer patients and their families.”