January 31, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Abney Foundation gift to advance cancer research
Charleston, SC - The Abney Foundation has contributed a $500,000 gift to the Medical University of South Carolina, enabling the university's Hollings Cancer Center to strengthen and expand a program to train cancer researchers.
The donation will allow the center to expand The Abney Foundation Scholarship Program, which The Abney Foundation established in 1996 to promote cancer research at the Medical University.
The program provides scholarships for graduate students involved in cancer research, as well as students enrolled in the Medical University's M.D./Ph.D. program, which allows them to earn a medical degree from the College of Medicine and a degree from the College of Graduate Studies with a special interest in cancer research.
In both programs, students are trained to bridge the gap between research and medicine, learning how to cultivate new knowledge and apply that knowledge to an ever-higher level of patient care. In that sense, the programs serve as an important training ground for medical researchers who will spend much of their careers working to develop new treatments - and ultimately a cure - for cancer, said Andrew Kraft, M.D., director of Hollings Cancer Center.
"South Carolina has some of the highest rates of cancer death in the nation, and it is estimated that over 9,000 people will die in our state this year because of the disease," said Kraft. "The Abney Scholars are the future of cancer research. They are the individuals who will help change these grim statistics."
The Abney Foundation has continued to support the scholarship program because of their confidence in the scholars and the research progress they have made since the program's inception, said Carl T. Edwards, executive director of The Abney Foundation.
"The Foundation initially committed to this research scholarship program because we believed it to be a direct and effective way we could contribute to seeking a cure for cancer," said Edwards. "Over the 10 years since we established this endowed fund, we've had many opportunities to meet with the Abney Research Scholars and their leaders to discuss their work. We continue to be impressed with the dedication and high level of competence of the researchers and their leadership, and believe that funding this program is a worthy and effective use of our resources."
To date, The Abney Foundation has invested $4.2 million in its scholarship fund at the Medical University, which will enable the fund to provide full scholarships for at least eight students and partial scholarships for at least seven students each year. The foundation has contributed an additional $1.7 million in support to other educational, research and patient-care initiatives at the university.
"Over the past 50 years, The Abney Foundation has demonstrated a special commitment to helping raise the standards of health for the citizens of our state and beyond, and we are honored to have been a partner in that effort," said Medical University President Dr. Ray Greenberg. "On behalf of our students and patients, we would like to express our profound gratitude to The Abney Foundation's Board of Directors for their continued support."
Founded in 1957, The Abney Foundation supports organizations that are operated exclusively for educational, religious, charitable, scientific, and literary purposes. To date, the Anderson, S.C.-based foundation has awarded more than $36 million to such causes.
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