A $10 million gift from Internet publishing entrepreneurs and philanthropists Emmet and Toni Stephenson and their daughter Tessa Stephenson Brand will fund the creation of the Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center at City of Hope, Duarte, California, the cornerstone of the institution’s new Hematologic Malignancies Institute.
The gift was announced January 11 at a gala at City of Hope, which culminated a year-long celebration of the institution’s centennial. The gift will enable City of Hope researchers to deepen their investigation of the biological mechanisms of lymphoma, identify new molecular targets, and expedite production of immunotherapies to treat this deadly disease.
In launching the lymphoma center, the gift will help shape the structure of City of Hope’s new Hematologic Malignancies Institute. The institute, now in development, will help speed the translation of new discoveries to patients diagnosed with hematologic malignancies and will bring additional resources and commitment to their ultimate cure and prevention.
Toni Stephenson is currently being treated at City of Hope for T cell lymphoma, and the new center will be named in her honor. The family’s gift will help City of Hope scientists further develop immune-based, nontransplant therapies that have already shown promise in their laboratories.
“For decades, doctors and researchers at City of Hope have worked to prolong the lives and relieve the suffering of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers,” said Stephen J. Forman, MD, the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope. “Our success shows not just how committed we are to those patients, but also just how much more we can achieve. The Stephenson family’s generosity will enable us to improve the longevity—and the quality—of our patients’ lives and, ultimately, to cure lymphoma and other diseases.”