Nov. 16-29, 2001
Back Issues
Senate highlights work of Harrison undergraduate researchers
Deans slow new spending
Goodwins give $3.9 million to speed cancer research
Photos show aftermath of Rwandan genocide
Q&A: Ayers builds future on founder's model

Martin: Immigration laws need to be realistic

Medical Center reaches settlement
Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff
Play explores the foibles of greed
Campaign pleas for local charity support
Hot Links -- With Good Reason
Sheer images
Poet and editor R.T. Smith to read at U.Va. Nov. 29
Bill and Alice Goodwin
Courtesy of the Darden School
Alice and William H. Goodwin Jr.

Goodwins give $3.9 million to speed cancer research

Staff Report

University cancer researchers have received $3.9 million to accelerate clinical trials on a promising vaccine for melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer with limited treatment options. The gift, made by long-time U.Va. benefactors Alice and William H. Goodwin Jr., of Richmond, also will support the development of new vaccines for lung, ovarian, breast and colon cancer.

“The U.Va. Cancer Center is breaking ground on a daily basis,” said University President John T. Casteen III. “The Goodwins’ generous commitment will speed clinical trials of new cancer vaccines by giving researchers access to eligible patients more quickly, and therefore allow more rapid collection of information about how the vaccines are performing.”

Cancer vaccines work by teaching the body’s immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells. In 1994, the U.Va. research team – headed by melanoma specialist Dr. Craig Slingluff, along with immunologist Victor Engelhard and chemist Donald Hunt – developed technology that identified a molecular cancer marker, or peptide, that appears on the tumorous cells of many melanoma patients. This discovery gave the team a target on which to focus the development of a vaccine.

Since 1994, the team has discovered six more peptides that are characteristic of melanoma, plus one peptide characteristic of lung cancer cells. Clinical trials of the U.Va. melanoma vaccine are being conducted at U.Va., Duke University, the University of Pittsburgh and clinical centers in Europe and Australia.
The Goodwins’ gift will allow researchers to extend the vaccine trials to other academic medical centers.

“That collaboration will bring great minds together, which can only speed our progress toward a cure for melanoma,” Slingluff said. “This gift will allow us to evaluate several different vaccine preparations that are more complex than any we’ve used so far, so that we can determine which combinations work best.”

The gift will be used to equip research laboratories and to provide the high-quality materials used to manufacture the vaccines. A search for a medical oncologist to help manage the trials will begin immediately, followed by recruitment efforts for additional clinical support staff and two basic science researchers, according to Michael Weber, director of the U.Va. Cancer Center.

“We are glad our gift will help U.Va. advance new cures for cancer, as Alice and I have decided to significantly support research for new cures for cancer over the next seven to 10 years,” said Goodwin, a member of the University’s Board of Visitors since 1996 and a 1966 graduate of the Darden School. “We believe doctors Slingluff, Engelhard and Hunt and their staff are outstanding, and we are thankful that we are able to support their efforts at the U.Va. Cancer Center.

“Like most people, we have seen firsthand the tragic consequences of cancer. We want to do what we can to safeguard future generations against this devastating killer.”

“Finding effective strategies to fight cancer is the goal of all involved. We are glad that we can help,” Alice Goodwin said.

The Goodwins are known for their philanthropy, supporting cancer research, education and religion. They have given generously to U.Va. in the past, including more than $25 million to the Darden School.


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of the University of Virginia

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