M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The Murdock Trust was founded with a goal to enrich the lives of those in the Pacific Northwest. Investing in scientific research that finds medical solutions to life-threatening illnesses is one way we live out our mission, and is a critical sector of the Trust’s funding. As the second most common cause of death in the United States, cancer is a disease we must fight if our communities are to flourish. In recent years, the Trust has been fortunate to fund significant innovations in cancer research from some of our region’s leading institutions.

The Knight Cancer Precision Biofabrication Hub at Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland is studying artificial tissue as a way to understand cancer. By recreating cancer tissues in the lab, researchers can gain insight into the cells that make up tumors, which is the start to finding new ways to fight them.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle has been producing important breakthroughs in cancer research since 1975. The Trust has been grateful to support this work with 19 grants to date. Most recently, grants have funded efforts to bring a new immunotherapy for treating advanced kidney cancer to clinical trial, the acquisition of a cell sorter that helps measure and isolate cell characteristics for cellular immunotherapy research and other applications, and more.

Three people look at a computer showing cells, with one pointing at the screen.
Providence Portland Medical Foundation

Providence Portland Medical Foundation supports the Providence Cancer Institute. Recently, the Foundation received funds for the commercialization of a novel cancer immunotherapy drug. One of the significant barriers to cancer immunotherapy is that the immune system cells that fight cancer are killed by a protein called Fas Ligand when they enter the tumor. Researchers at the Providence Cancer Institute have developed an antibody that kills this protein. This would protect the immune system cells from a hostile tumor environment and enable them to attack the cancer cells more effectively.

Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute in Beaverton, OR, exists to make childhood cancer universally survivable. A new luminescence detection instrument will supply highly sensitive imaging capabilities for a gene and a protein that are genetically engineered into mouse tumors. With these updated capabilities, researchers will acquire faster and more accurate data on tumor-drug responsiveness. Ultimately, this will move more drugs fighting childhood cancer along to human clinical trials.

These four research institutes are just a sample of the groundbreaking innovations happening in labs around our region that are actively fighting cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The Trust is also fortunate to support a number of camps for those in the midst of a cancer journey, such as Camp Rainbow Gold in Boise, ID, Camp Mak-a-Dream in Missoula, MT, and Camp Ukandu in Portland. We partner with clinics that care for cancer patients in their local communities with excellence and dedication, such as Clearwater Valley Health in Orofino, ID, St. Peter’s Health Foundation in Helena, MT, and Asante in Medford, OR.

These nonprofits and so many others help make the fight against cancer feel more hopeful. They remind our communities that there is a network of people who care about those suffering from this life-changing illness and who are working to eradicate it for good. To each of these organizations, thank you could never be enough!

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