$10 Million Gift will Fund Research Center Focused on Finding the Genetic Causes of Childhood Brain Cancer

Center Created within Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine

San Diego – March 28, 2016 – Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego announced today the establishment of the Joseph Clayes III Research Center for Neuro-Oncology and Genomics within the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine.  Made possible by a $10 million endowment, the Center aims to accelerate the translation of leading-edge genomic research into prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cures.

The Center adds an important research component to Rady Children’s full range of advanced treatment options for childhood brain cancer, chief among them proton therapy, provided at Rady Children’s Hospital at Scripps Proton Therapy Center. Proton therapy is the preferred form of radiation therapy for many childhood cancers, especially brain and spinal tumors, because it spares healthy tissue from potentially damaging radiation.

“The first instinct of parents who have a child diagnosed with cancer is to seek out the best treatments available,” said Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, President and CEO of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine.  “That’s exactly what our team of scientists, researchers and physicians intends to provide.  By sequencing the tumor, we can discover the genomic foundation of the cancer, and develop individualized approaches to treatment.”

The $10 million endowment will be divided into three specific programs:

  • The Joseph Clayes III Neuro-Oncology Research Fund that will accelerate research into the understanding of the genomic foundation of childhood brain cancers and help scientists to develop individualized approaches to treatment.
  • The Joseph Clayes III Endowed Chair in Neuro-Oncology Research, allowing Rady Children’s to invest in top leadership talent with the knowledge and skill to lead advanced genomics research.
  • The Joseph Clayes III Neuro-Oncology Research Fellowship and Education Fund, allowing the most promising young scientists to learn the best approaches in pioneering cancer research, and preparing them to be future leaders in genomic medicine.

“The establishment of the Joseph Clayes III Research Center for Neuro-Oncology and Genomics is the latest step forward to fulfilling the dream that every child who comes to Rady Children’s for care will have the benefits of genomic sequencing,” said David Hale, Board Chair of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine.

“By accelerating research, investing in top talent and training future leaders in genomic medicine, this generous gift has the very real potential to benefit generations of children,” said Donald Kearns, M.D., President and CEO of Rady Children’s. “We thank the Clayes Trust for this inspiring example of visionary giving.”

The namesake of the new Center, the late Joseph Clayes III, was a successful real-estate investor, avocado rancher and philanthropist who valued the importance of education, the arts and helping children.  Brendan Holmes, a former business partner of Clayes, and Clayes’ niece Trulette Clayes, are co-trustees of the Joseph Clayes III Charitable Trust.  They jointly made the decision to invest in the Center.

“My uncle Joe had a passion for causes that help children – specifically those who face physical or mental challenges in their lives,” said Trulette Clayes. “This endowment has the potential to change the course of how children with cancer receive treatment.”

“Making a positive and lasting impact on the lives of children with cancer perfectly illustrates the mission of the Trust that Joseph established,” said Brendan Holmes. “There’s no better investment than in the lives of children.”

The $10 Million endowment is the latest investment in the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, following Ernest and Evelyn Rady’s $120 million gift in August 2014 to establish the Institute, and a $2.5 million investment by Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary in May of 2015 to fund the first endowed chair of the Institute, Dr. Joseph Gleeson.