NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have made a financial gift to the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in support of clinical trials for new and better therapies for breast cancer.
The Oscar-winning and Grammy-winning international cinema and music superstars have been longtime cancer research supporters, according to the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, where the couple calls home.
“Keith and I are making this gift in the hope that more people will have more years to enjoy life with the people they love,” Kidman said. “We realize that clinical trials can have a global impact when knowledge about treatment advancements is shared.”
Their philanthropy for the cause is rooted in Kidman’s experience as a teenager, when she cared for her mother, a breast cancer survivor. In addition to their financial support, Vanderbilt-Ingram said Kidman and Urban have “given direct emotional support to patients.”
They most recently visited with pediatric patients at the Seacrest Studio inside Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
“My experience of watching a parent or another loved one battle cancer is something that far too many people have had to endure,” Kidman said. “I am fortunate to have had my mother with me all these years since.”
As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram is known for its expertise in breast cancer. It is one of only six cancer centers in the nation receiving Specialized Programs of Research Excellence funding from the NCI.
Research from the laboratory of Vanderbilt-Ingram’s former director, Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, has led to vast improvements in the understanding of triple-negative breast cancer, a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer.
“We are grateful for the support that Ms. Kidman and Mr. Urban have given to our breast cancer research program,” Pietenpol said. “Their actions help us in our mission to lessen the burden of this disease.”
The current director, Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD, the Benjamin F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology, is also a leader in the breast cancer field and pioneered liquid biopsies for cancer evaluation and treatment.
Park and Vandana Abramson, MD, Donna S. Hall Professor of Medicine and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram are currently leading a multi-center national clinical trial to evaluate changes in circulating tumor DNA levels.
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The clinical trial is aimed at helping guide therapy in metastatic breast cancer. Abramson and Pietenpol also just completed a national study evaluating immunotherapy in breast cancer.
The gift from Kidman and Urban, which Abramson said “is crucial” to their mission at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, will help support clinical trials stemming from that research.
“Gifts from individual donors are like seeds in a garden,” Abramson said. “They support emerging therapies that start out as ideas in a laboratory or an examination room. If we didn’t have this kind of support, those ideas would never take root and become clinical trials and ultimately lead to better, less toxic treatments and more cures.”