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May 18, 2016

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation yesterday honored Tom Daniel, MD, Chairman, Celgene Research and Bob Hugin, Executive Chairman, Celgene Corporation, at its 2016 Annual Breakfast at Cipriani 42nd Street® in New York City. The Breakfast raised nearly $1.4 million to support the nation’s best and brightest cancer researchers, enabling the talent capable of revolutionizing the prevention, detection, and treatment of all forms of cancer.

Honorees Tom Daniel and Bob Hugin of Celgene (CELG—NASDAQ), were introduced by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw. Daniel and Hugin shared cancer’s impact on their friends and family, and expressed great hope for the future.

“This is an exceptional time,” said Dr. Daniel. “The progress over the past couple of years has been staggering. The opportunity to awake the immune system and fight cancer has been matched by diagnostic and technical approaches that are personalizing medicine, and indeed we can take the cells from patients, modify them genetically, reinfuse them, and have them not only address and kill the cancer but serve as ongoing sentinels for emergent recurrent disease. We look forward to the progress that our collaborator companies and our internal organizations are delivering. But we actually believe that fostering the future generation, just as Damon Runyon’s mission employs, to identify, inspire, foster, and fund the innovators who will really change the landscape is the future for cancer and indeed for our collective endeavors.”   

“I’d like to thank Tom Brokaw for speaking-up as a patient,” added Mr. Hugin. “It’s important to recognize who our ultimate boss is, and that’s the patient. That’s who we all ultimately work for. I also want to thank the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, because what you do to stimulate and support cancer research, especially with young investigators, is so important to society and to the patients that we serve. Without that kind of support for young investigators, so many great ideas would be left behind.”

Two exceptional Damon Runyon scientists illustrated the organization’s wide range of focus with research updates.

Damon Runyon Physician-Scientist Training Award recipient Carolyn C. Jackson, MD, MPH, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Rockefeller University, is working on a “Genetic Study of Pediatric Kaposi Sarcoma,” and provided highlights of her research.

Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Breakthrough Scientist Costas A. Lyssiotis, PhD, of the University of Michigan Medical School, shared details of his work “Starving Pancreatic Cancer by Targeting Its Bad Eating Habits.” Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal form of cancer, with just 8% of newly diagnosed patients surviving five years after diagnosis. He is seeking new ways to kill pancreatic tumors.  

Brokaw, the event’s featured speaker, discussed his own personal experience with cancer. “When you get a cancer diagnosis, your whole family really gets the diagnosis and is affected,” said Brokaw. “But fortunately, thanks in part to Damon Runyon, we are approaching the golden age of cancer research and there is great promise on the horizon.” Brokaw has benefitted from Celgene’s therapies in his battle with multiple myeloma, and has recounted his experiences with the disease in his latest book, A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir.


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 71 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Since its founding in 1946, Damon Runyon has invested over $300 million and funded 3,500 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.

Contact: Ronni Berke, Director, Communications and Marketing