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June 5, 2014

New York, NY (June 5, 2014) -  The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation honored Steven A. Kandarian, CEO of MetLife and Damon Runyon Board of Directors member, at its 2014 Annual Breakfast, held on Tuesday morning at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. The Breakfast raised more than $1.6 million to support the nation’s most brilliant young cancer researchers, pursuing work that promises to accelerate cures.

Alan M. Leventhal, Chairman of the Damon Runyon Board, welcomed guests to a program that included research updates from Himisha Beltran, MD, a Damon Runyon -Gordon Family Clinical Investigator at Weill Cornell Medical College pursuing personalized treatments for drug-resistant prostate cancer, and Adam de la Zerda, PhD, a Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Scientist at Stanford University working on improved imaging techniques to detect and destroy individual cancer cells.

The event’s keynote speaker was James E. Rothman, PhD, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work he began as a Damon Runyon Fellow from 1976 to 1978. Dr. Rothman reflected on how the early days of his career set a course for later success, noting “Damon Runyon was there for me when I wanted to take risks…I was trying to take on a major problem most people felt couldn’t be addressed.”

Dr. Rothman went on to praise the Foundation’s approach to cancer research, saying “By illuminating a broader swath of biology, researchers can have an unexpected impact. Some of the biggest discoveries are made this way.”

The morning’s honoree, Steven A. Kandarian, was introduced by Bruce E. Mosler, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield and Kandarian’s longtime friend. Damon Runyon Board of Directors member Sanford W. Morhouse, Esq. announced that Chao Lu, PhD, would be named the first Damon Runyon-Kandarian Family Fellow in recognition of Kandarian’s numerous contributions to Damon Runyon’s mission.

The Breakfast concluded with remarks from Kandarian, who spoke about cancer’s impact on his own family and his motivations for joining the Damon Runyon Board. “I was stunned by the swift and terrible power of cancer,” Kandarian said of the disease’s impact on his own family. “I can think of no better target for the intellectual energies of our most creative young researchers than this disease.”


To accelerate breakthroughs, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation provides today’s best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative research. The Foundation has gained worldwide prominence in cancer research by identifying outstanding researchers and physician-scientists. Twelve scientists supported by the Foundation have received the Nobel Prize, seven others have received National Medals of Science, and 65 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Since its founding in 1946, Damon Runyon has invested nearly $275 million and funded more than 3,420 young scientists.  One hundred percent of all donations to the Foundation are used to support cutting-edge scientific research. Its administrative and fundraising costs are paid from its Damon Runyon Broadway Tickets and endowment.


Kim Kubert

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation