In 1988, the Cancer Research Foundation received $710,264.68 from the estate of Eugene and Dorothy S. Fletcher. Under the terms of their trust, this money was "to be held as a permanent fund to be known as the Eugene and Dorothy Fletcher Memorial Endowment with income only to be used for laboratory research."
This generous gift was used to establish the Cancer Research Foundation Fletcher Scholars Program, which provides funding to individual senior cancer scientists doing cancer research of exceptional import, using income earned from the endowment.
The first recipient, Richard Schilsky, M.D., received a Young Investigator Award from the Foundation in 1986. The $100,000 Fletcher Scholars Award in 1989 supported Dr. Schilsky's work in developing drugs to be used against cancer. Dr. Schilsky, Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, is considered to be one of the leading Midwest authorities on cancer drug development and toxicity. Dr. Schilsky now serves as a medical consultant to the Cancer Research Foundation.
Michelle M. LeBeau, Ph.D., the 1993 Fletcher Scholar, is the Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and director of the Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory. Dr. LeBeau's work focuses on identifying the genetic mutations that are involved in the pathogenesis of human tumors, with an emphasis on chromosomal abnormalities. She has made significant contributions to the study of chromosomal and genetic abnormalities in cancer cells. Her research characterizes chromosomal abnormalities at the molecular level, and identifies the genes whose altered function results in malignant transformation. Dr. Le Beau now leads the Interdiscipinary Leukemia Project as one of its principal investigators.
Current Fletcher Scholars
Kenan Onel, MD, PhD - 2012 Fletcher Scholar
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology/Oncology · University of Chicago
“Exploiting Darwin to Overcome Drug Resistance in Leukemia”
"The most difficult time in the career of a beginning young scientist is the first few years. One has no 'track record' just when the need for money to hire a technician to help with experiments, to buy supplies and equipment, is the greatest. Supporting such an individual is risky; one cannot be assured of success! During the past fifty years, beginning with Maurice Goldblatt, the Cancer Research Foundation has been willing to bet on promising young scientists, to take risks. The measure of the Foundation's phenomenal success is the high quality and continued productivity of the scientists who they have helped to develop and now to flourish. They have provided an enduring legacy of talent for cancer research in America."Janet D. Rowley, M.D.
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics University of Chicago
April 30, 2010