Swedish announces transformational $20 million gift

November 9, 2021 Swedish Communications

blue graphic reads "The future is here"


In this article:

  • A generous gift from the late co-founder of Microsoft will help establish a new center for cancer research at the Swedish Cancer Institute.

  • Research will focus on clinical and genomic data to uncover patterns in the development of the disease and help develop more effective treatments.

  • This initiative will complement SCI’s research and practice in immuno-oncology and the early detection of cancer.

Swedish is pleased to announce we have received a $20 million personal bequest from the late philanthropist Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. The gift, made shortly after his death in 2018, supports the establishment of the Paul G. Allen Research Center at Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) and gives our team of physician-researchers the freedom to transform the future of cancer care and treatment.

The center will support next-generation research programs that combine advances in biomedical sciences with innovation in cancer treatment, technology and computer science to transform our understanding of cancer, how to treat it and ultimately, how to prevent it from ever occurring.

The program will be driven by a combination of tremendous amounts of clinical and genomic data and various treatment responses. One data point can tell us very little; however, when it’s combined with similar numbers from tens of thousands of data from other patients over time, patterns will emerge and potentially unlock the secrets of how cancer forms and grows, as well as reveal new, more effective ways to treat it.

“For decades, oncologists everywhere have treated patients based on their type of cancer, from breast and colon to lung and liver; however, no two people are the same and neither are any two tumors,” said SCI Executive Medical Director Sara Jo Grethlein, M.D., MBA, FACP. “It’s time to tailor treatments specifically to the genetic and molecular makeup of each patient and their tumor. The budding field of multi-omics is set to birth exciting, targeted therapies that provide patients more hope with fewer debilitating side effects.”

Collecting and analyzing data at the scale SCI is planning requires a significant investment in technology, personnel and laboratory resources. Through the center, our physician researchers will launch a multi-pronged approach to cancer care centered around three pillars: 

1. Initiative for Molecular and Genomic Evaluation of Cancer (IMGEC) is designed to expand our collection and analysis of genetic, molecular and clinical data, allowing us to better understand how cancers evolve to resist treatment and the mechanisms that drive their development and growth.

2. Center for Immuno-oncology (CIO) leverages the data collected through IMGEC to develop leading-edge therapies that use the power of a patient’s own immune system to treat their cancer and spare them the potential side effects associated with chemotherapy.

3. Initiative for Cancer Prevention and Early Detection (IPED) seeks to improve existing and develop new methods for detecting cancers early — and ultimately preventing cancer altogether — on a broader scale.

“Philanthropy allows us to make transformational advancements in patient care,” said Swedish CEO R. Guy Hudson, M.D., MBA. “As a physician and a surgeon, the trust we have with our patients is the most important thing. For Mr. Allen to put his trust in us for his care means a lot to our organization, and now with this gift, we will be able to serve and honor his legacy by helping not only those in the Puget Sound region but all cancer patients and communities everywhere.”

"Paul was grateful for the care he received at Swedish over the years," said Jody Allen, trustee of the Paul G. Allen Estate and sister of Mr. Allen. "His gift reflects his lifelong belief that to make transformational change to benefit others, you must invest in science and the researchers pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking to solve complex problems." 

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If you have questions about cancer treatment, contact the Swedish Cancer Institute. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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