The Basser Research Center

Photo of Mindy and Jon GrayMindy and Jon Gray
Photo: Courtesy of

While I was in downtown Philadelphia recently at a reception celebrating a new research center, I had the good fortune of meeting Mindy and Jon Gray, Penn Alumni, who made a $25 million gift to the Abramson Cancer Center. Wowza! Their vision:  Establishing a center focused on the prevention and treatment of cancers that are associated with inheritable BRCA mutations.

I get so excited when people truly think (& act!) outside of the box. This is exactly what Mindy and Jon have done with their more than generous donation. I believe this “super power couple” has set the stage for scientific breakthroughs that will transform the lives of women and their families for decades to come. They totally ROCK!

Mindy kindly took the time to answer a few questions to explain the what, why and how of The Basser Research Center for BRCA. I hope that you enjoy getting to know about this center as much as I have!

What is your vision? We hope that the Basser Research Center will eliminate BRCA-related cancers and, in doing so, provide a road map for curing other genetic diseases.  As Penn graduates, we are fortunate that our alma mater has the world-class medical facilities and gifted researchers essential for this mission.

Is the center focused on both, BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes? The Basser Research Center for BRCA is part of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  The new center supports research on the BRCA1 andBRCA2 genes, harmful forms of which are associated with greatly increased risks of breast and ovarian cancer.  The center is being named in honor of my family, the Bassers. My sister, Faith Basser, died of ovarian cancer at age 44.

You discussed your vision with me. Can you tell me the goal of The Basser Research Center? The goal is to learn from the patients of today to impact care for generations of cancer patients to come.  The Basser Research Center for BRCA infuses powerful resources to support cancer care and research at every stage of the cancer diagnosis.  This includes:  Communication, Outreach & Risk Assessment, Prevention, Early Detection, Treatment and Survivorship.

What would you like for people to know about The Basser Research Center? The Basser Research Center will make it easier to make a difference in cancer research. We are hoping to prevent entire categories of cancers before they even appear.

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