Tow Foundation Commits $2 Million to Multiple Myeloma Research at Sylvester

The Tow Foundation has committed $2 million to support multiple myeloma research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a part of UHealth – University of Miami Health System, and in particular, the work of C. Ola Landgren, M.D., Ph.D., a world-renowned hematologic oncologist.

Emily Tow and Dr. Leonard Tow. Photo by Rich Freeda.
Emily Tow and Dr. Leonard Tow. Photo by Rich Freeda.

“This donation is a testament to the extraordinary vision, leadership and expertise of Dr. Landgren and the entire myeloma team here at Sylvester,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester, the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, executive dean for research, and professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “This type of donor support is critical to our mission and will help save lives.”

The Tow Foundation’s pledge is part of the University’s Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the University’s history, the $2.5 billion campaign is set to conclude in 2025, when the University will celebrate its centennial.

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

This donation is the first of its kind for the foundation, as up until now it has focused its philanthropic efforts in New York and Connecticut, where it is based. The decision to support a cancer institution outside of this region was based on the foundation’s confidence in Dr. Landgren.

Emily Tow, president of The Tow Foundation, said, “We look for folks who embody the pillars of our philosophy: innovation, transformation, entrepreneurship and collaboration.”

The relationship began several years ago, when Leonard Tow, Ph.D., founder of the Tow Foundation, met Dr. Landgren when he was a faculty leader at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.

“I’ve met many rather esteemed scientists, but his style was completely different,” said Dr. Tow. “Dr. Landgren does not accept anything less than success, and I don’t doubt for a moment that he’s on the trail to accomplish something with this multiple myeloma research.”

In 2020, Dr. Nimer recruited Dr. Landgren to be the inaugural director of the Translational & Clinical Oncology Program at Sylvester, South Florida’s only NCI-designated cancer center, as well as the head of the multiple myeloma program.

“The University of Miami made a great choice with Dr. Nimer as the leader of Sylvester,” said Dr. Tow. “He knows where the diamonds lie, and he is determined to assemble them in Miami. Give it a little time and Sylvester is going to be one of the important research and treatment institutions in the world of cancer.”

C. Ola Landgren, M.D., Ph.D.

The Tow Foundation was established in 1988 by Dr. Tow and his wife, Claire, to fund projects that offer transformative experiences to individuals and create collaborative ventures in fields where they see opportunities for breakthroughs, reform and benefits for underserved populations.

“We look for cutting-edge new ideas that are in need of early funding,” said Emily Tow, who is Dr. Tow’s daughter. “This project was particularly attractive because Dr. Landgren will be working collaboratively with many other brilliant minds, which gives this research the potential to have a large-scale impact.”

The funding will be used to research early detection and predisposition for multiple myeloma, as this particular cancer can be often cured in patients before the age of 65. It is a critical window of time that can save the life of a patient if the cancer can be detected.

“This is a time of great hope and promise for cancer patients and their families. In my career, I have seen the average overall survival go from 1 to 3 years to 10 to 20 years. The future is very bright,” said Dr. Landgren.

“I’m pleased and proud to be part of it,” said Dr. Tow. “It is the only time that we have ventured into territory so far away from New York. I hope there are others like us that will bring support to the institution.”

If you would like to join The Tow Foundation in contributing to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, contact Britten King at britten.king@med.miami.edu or 305-243-9949.

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