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Collaborating Institutions

A movement cannot start without a significant commitment from all the people and institutions who choose to be involved. The five participating cancer centers have made a genuine commitment to collaborate to create something bigger than themselves. Together, we have the opportunity to make profound change.

The power of multi-institutional collaboration to accelerate cancer research

For many years, the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research, established by Mr. and Mrs. William H. Goodwin Jr., has supported the five outstanding cancer centers that today comprise the Break Through Cancer family of participating institutions.

In 2017, the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research encouraged the five cancer centers to imagine the power of a multi-institutional collaboration to accelerate cancer research. The Foundation’s encouragement took on a new level of urgency when the Goodwin’s eldest son, Hunter, was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. The creation of a new foundation to support collaborative research became Hunter’s passion, and ultimately his legacy. He lost his battle with cancer in January 2020.

Break Through Cancer was conceived with Hunter’s advice and counsel, established in his memory, and serves as a beacon of hope for all patients and families who face what is today a hopeless diagnosis.

The Goodwin Family and the Estate of Hunter Goodwin have made a transformative $250M challenge pledge to Break Through Cancer. Their support seeds the foundation, giving us tremendous ammunition to work together to identify, shape, and resource the very best ideas and bring them to clinical implementation. Importantly, their gift challenges Break Through Cancer to raise significant additional support, so we may fund collaborative teams, bringing a greater sense of urgency and possibility to the Foundation’s life-changing work.

Alice and Bill Goodwin

Alice and Bill Goodwin
“We believe this effort to fight cancer, particularly with collaborative research, has a realistic probability of success. We want to help people have better lives. And we sincerely hope that by being public with our support, we will inspire others to support this incredible effort.” – Bill Goodwin

What we do

Break Through Cancer’s purpose is simple, yet not easy. We are committed to empowering cancer researchers to join forces to solve challenging problems, regardless of institutional affiliation. We all believe in a world in which real cancer collaboration: sharing information, ideas, technologies across scientists and institutions, should not only be possible, but should be the norm. While the barriers to achieving this vision are significant, they can and must be solved. This is what drives Break Through Cancer.

When a patient receives a diagnosis from their oncologist, the news is devastating to the patient, their family, and their friends. Break Through Cancer is committed to changing this conversation, too, to one that is hopeful, not hopeless.

Break Through Cancer provides resources and support to inter-institutional teams of scientists, engineers, and clinical researchers from five of the country’s top cancer centers to focus aggressively on new diagnostics, treatments, and improved outcomes for some of the deadliest cancers which could include pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, glioblastoma, and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

How we do it

We collaborate:
We recognize the power in assembling innovative and diverse teams—scientists, engineers, and clinical researchers—who together will bring their individual expertise to bear on shared problems.

We innovate:
Collectively, we are smarter than cancer. With innovative thinking, cutting-edge technology, and multi-institutional collaboration, we are better equipped to think in front of the cancer, diagnose it earlier, treat patients strategically and more quickly, and ultimately outsmart cancer.

We hope:
The word cancer is synonymous with fear. We can change that. Break Through Cancer’s bold effort to beat some of the most challenging cancers is powered by hope—a hope for earlier diagnoses, better treatments, and longer tomorrows.

The Break Through Cancer movement is built around a special formula

The formula starts with a community of innovative collaborators, then adds transformative funding from dedicated philanthropists, and research guidance from some of the most accomplished cancer experts in the world. Patients inspire us to find better solutions, faster. Biotech, pharma, and government partnerships will help us marshal the resources to drive discoveries to the clinic, and ultimately, to patients.

Not for a minute do we think we stand alone. In fact, Break Through Cancer can only imagine this world of multi-institutional collaboration because of essential, foundational support from the National Cancer Institute, and countless cancer research foundations, philanthropists, and companies who, over many years, have supported individual scientists and teams of researchers.

Make a difference

Break Through Cancer was created in February 2021 with an extraordinary matching gift of $250,000,000. Every gift to the Foundation supports groundbreaking cancer research and helps us to meet our matching commitment.

For questions about giving please email