August 7, 2009

Couple’s gift bolsters cancer research

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Donna S. Hall, Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., and John Hall in the Arteaga laboratory at VICC. (photo by Mary Donaldson)

Couple’s gift bolsters cancer research

Carlos Arteaga, M.D., has been named the first recipient of the Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC).

The newly created chair is funded through a $1.5 million gift from John and Donna Hall of Lexington, Ky., and was created to support the research efforts of an exceptional cancer investigator in the VICC breast cancer program.

Arteaga, professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, is director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at VICC.

“It is a wonderful privilege to be awarded this new chair,” said Arteaga. “John and Donna Hall have been steadfast supporters of the Cancer Center and this gift is another example of their commitment to research that may enhance the lives of cancer patients.”

John Hall is the retired chair and CEO of Kentucky-based Ashland, Inc., and a 1955 graduate of Vanderbilt University. He has been a member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust since 1987 and served as chair of the board from 1995-1999.

In 1998, Donna Hall was diagnosed with breast cancer and chose VICC for her care. She has been cancer-free since her year-long treatment and she decided to give back to the center that she says saved her life. She has been a member of the VICC Board of Overseers since 2005 and her husband planned the new gift in her honor.

“I received such wonderful treatment at Vanderbilt-Ingram,” said Donna Hall. “The entire medical staff is so caring and professional, and they treat each and every person with dignity and respect, while providing exceptional care. I hope the gift we are giving will help other women in the future who are diagnosed with breast cancer.”

The newly endowed chair will advance the work of Arteaga, who is also director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer.

For nearly 20 years, he has been advancing research in oncology through his discoveries in the pathogenesis and molecular therapeutics of breast cancer. His work helped pave the way for development of numerous targeted drugs such as trastuzumab (Herceptin), cetuximab (Erbitux) and erlotinib (Tarceva), as well as other combinations currently in development.

Arteaga is the recipient of the 2009 Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The Bonadonna award is named for the renowned Italian investigator credited with first reporting the use of adjuvant chemotherapy to treat micrometastatic disease in patients with operable breast cancer.