In 2008, Minnesota Masonic Charities made a record-setting pledge of $65 million in support of groundbreaking cancer research, which named the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Ten years later, the organization announced it would significantly accelerate this pledge through an expedited installment of $25 million. Today, this support is driving even greater progress in the quest for a cure. One example of how the accelerated support is making a difference is the recent completion of the Masonic Discovery Lab.
The Masonic Discovery Lab will bring together under one roof 30+ researchers from across the U to find the next breakthroughs in cancer research and then move them quickly to patients affected by the disease.
Using advanced technology found in few other places, researchers will focus on training the immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells, pinpointing the cells and genes that cause cancer, understanding DNA damage, and more. Additionally, because some members of the Masonic Discovery Lab are also clinicians, the bench to bedside connection will be even stronger with the sharing of insights, data, and patient samples that will help increase the pace of innovative studies.
“The Masonic Discovery Lab embodies the idea that we are always better as partners than we are apart,” said Joan Gabel, president of the University. “It’s a space that is built on the foundation of creative collaboration, bringing our trailblazing scientists under one roof with a laser focus to accomplish our shared mission to beat cancer in Minnesota.”
While researchers are not yet physically working in the lab due to COVID-19, Masonic leaders were able to get a sneak peak during a tour and reception held in early March 2020 before pandemic-related closures occurred.