Meyer Cancer Center Inspires Generous Philanthropic Support

Dr. Jedd Wolchok and Dr. Dan Landau

Established through philanthropic support nearly a decade ago, the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine is experiencing an era of promising and innovative growth under the leadership of Dr. Jedd Wolchok.

Appointed as the Meyer Director of the Meyer Cancer Center in September 2022, Dr. Wolchok is spearheading a vision to expand the pool of clinical trial participants and offer the latest approaches to cancer prevention and treatment to patients across the New York metropolitan area.

“Dr. Wolchok is a phenomenal oncologist – a doctor’s doctor who is incredibly visionary and focused on discoveries, therapies and cutting-edge clinical care,’’ says Board of Fellows Chair Jessica Bibliowicz.

Supported by a steady increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) – the center received nearly $51 million in grants in fiscal year 2022-2023 – and an influx of generous gifts from donors, researchers are making discoveries that are changing the landscape of cancer care.

Two extraordinary gifts in support of cancer research at the Meyer Cancer Center will help fuel innovation and spur new treatments and therapies. Those gifts were made by Ms. Bibliowicz and her husband, Natan, and Mike and Maria Repole and the Nonna’s Garden Foundation.

Gifts from grateful patients and families – including the family of Stuart Weitzman – are also helping support the breakthrough work conducted by cancer researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Jessica and Natan Bibliowicz

Jessica and Natan Bibliowicz

Jessica and Natan Bibliowicz’s gift of $10 million will support the work of Dr. Wolchok and Dr. Dan Landau, an associate professor of medicine, and of physiology and biophysics, a leading researcher at the Meyer Cancer Center, and a core member of the New York Genome Center. The couple’s gift will also establish the endowed Bibliowicz Family Professorship, which will be held by an outstanding faculty member in the cancer field. A $10 million gift from Mike and Maria Repole and the Nonna’s Garden Foundation will support research into new cell therapies and clinical trials in the area of melanoma immunotherapy, currently being conducted by Dr. Wolchok.

Both gifts represent a vital investment in the Meyer Cancer Center, where collaborations between basic scientists and physicians are accelerating the application of new discoveries into clinical care.

Dr. Wolchok is a pioneer in a cancer treatment approach for melanoma that harnesses immune cells to fight the disease. Dr. Landau’s research includes innovative work in improving the liquid biopsy, a technique that allows for early detection and monitoring of cancer through the identification of tumor DNA in a patient’s blood.

“Dr. Landau is the kind of scientist who can really change medicine,’’ says Ms. Bibliowicz. She and Mr. Repole believe that Dr. Wolchok and his team – which includes Meyer Cancer Center Deputy Director Dr. Taha Merghoub – represent the very best in academic medicine: physician-scientists who are dedicated to pushing the boundaries in cancer research. Dr. Merghoub is the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor in Oncology Research, a professor of research in pharmacology and a professor of immunology research in medicine.

“These remarkable gifts will support and enhance our efforts to develop breakthrough approaches to treating cancer,’’ says Dr. Wolchok. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Bibliowicz and Repole families, and all the donors who help support this lifesaving work.”

“Philanthropy is critical to our mission as cancer researchers and physicians,’’ says Dr. Landau. “This visionary support for research will help us focus on advancing the discoveries that will improve patients’ lives.”

Donor Mike Repole

Mike Repole

Mr. Repole established the Nonna’s Garden Foundation after his beloved grandmother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of T-cell lymphoma – and a clinical trial extended her life for another 15 years. “You don’t really understand cancer until you or someone you love is touched by it,’’ adds Mr. Repole, who credits Dr. Wolchok with saving the life of another close family member with a rare cancer. “He’s an incredible leader with a beautiful mind – the Einstein of immunotherapy and melanoma.”

“Cancer affects the whole family, not just the patient,’’ says Ms. Bibliowicz. “We need to be proactive and to help patients get the most innovative treatments as quickly as possible.”

In the world of cancer research, it’s important to invest not only in today’s innovations, but also in the treatments and therapies that will arise in the years to come, says Mr. Repole.

“Whether it’s through immunotherapy or early drug development or cell therapy, I want to pay it forward,’’ he says. “We need to support the great researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine who will save future lives.”

Ms. Bibliowicz agrees. “As the campaign sharpens its focus on our medical research priorities, my hope is that our gift motivates others to consider investing in our talented physician-scientists,” she says. “It’s the best investment we’ve made.”

Drs. Landau and Wolchok, with scientists

Foreground, from left, Dr. Dan Landau and Dr. Jedd Wolchok, with scientists from their laboratories.

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