Monday, July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021

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Kuni Foundation pledges $5 million to cancer research

By , Columbian staff writer

A Vancouver nonprofit is donating $5 million to local cancer research that could lead to a potential “game changer” in treatment and hopefully make it more affordable, health officials said Tuesday.

The largesse, given by the Wayne D. Kuni and Joan E. Kuni Foundation to Legacy Health, will fund research that fights tumors by exploiting an enzyme — known as adenosine kinase — that controls cell growth.

Health officials said the donation sustains research that could someday lead to a breakthrough.

“We are grateful for this significant investment, which will help Legacy’s scientists continue on their promising path of finding a cure for cancer,” said Maureen Bradley, a Legacy Health executive, in a prepared statement.

Legacy Health’s research is housed at Legacy Research Institute and led by Detlev Boison, Ph.D., and Dr. Serene Perkins.

Research is in early stages, according to the release. The Kuni Foundation said helping promising, if young, research is vital to making discoveries in cancer research.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Legacy Research on their cutting-edge discoveries that could change the landscape for patients and their families,” said Angela Hult, president of the foundation, in the news release.

The donation also aims to reduce the cost of cancer treatment, which both organizations say is mounting. Some of the proceeds from Legacy’s research will be earmarked for making cancer treatment more affordable for all patients.

Millions donated

The foundation is no stranger to such gifts. It helped fund a research position at Legacy Health with a $50,000 grant. And it has awarded more than $12 million for cancer research, mainly to Oregon Health & Science University, in recent years.

Kuni Automotive’s Wayne Kuni created the foundation in 2005, before he died from cancer in 2006.

Columbian staff writer