October 6, 2022 – UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation announced today that it has received a $5 million gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation to establish a pediatric cancer research institute.
UPMC and UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation will provide matching funds to establish the Mario Lemieux Institute for Pediatric Cancer Research at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Under the leadership of Linda McAllister-Lucas, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UPMC Children’s Hospital, the Mario Lemieux Institute for Pediatric Cancer Research will push the frontier of childhood cancer research. The institute will focus on supporting future research leaders who will help generate new scientific breakthroughs and cutting-edge clinical trials in pediatric cancer research and translate that research directly to patients.
“Until research progresses, families around the world will continue receiving unimaginable news that their child diagnosed with cancer may not survive,” said Dr. McAllister-Lucas. “There is still much work to be done to save every child diagnosed with cancer, and research is the only way to get there.”
“The new institute will give us the opportunity to advance our research programs with the goal of improving long-term outcomes for all childhood cancer patients,” added Dr. McAllister-Lucas.
Representatives from the Mario Lemieux Foundation, including Mario and Nathalie Lemieux, joined leaders from UPMC Children’s Hospital and its Foundation for today’s announcement.
“We are beyond grateful for the Mario Lemieux Foundation’s partnership and generosity over the past 20 years,” said Rachel Petrucelli, president, UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The Lemieux Institute will unify cancer research across subspecialties at UPMC Children’s Hospital and elevate our capability to treat and cure children with cancer.”
“While I am fortunate to be a cancer survivor, so many children and families are fighting the battle each and every day,” said Mario Lemieux. “It’s our hope that this institute will inspire innovative research initiatives leading to more breakthroughs in pediatric cancer research.”
The Mario Lemieux Foundation has been a significant supporter of UPMC Children’s for many years. The foundation established a new center in 2014 for rare and hard-to-treat lymphomas that benefits children and young adults from around the world.
The foundation has also endowed a fund for pediatric cancer research, has helped to build beautiful spaces within the hospital that help all patients, including an Austin’s Playroom that is open to all inpatients, and has established the Lemieux Sibling Center for brothers and sisters of patients who need to accompany the family to the hospital. An additional Austin’s Playroom is located at Children’s North.