Finding Answers, Saving Lives

A World Leader in Cancer Research, Fighting the Disease on Multiple Fronts

While there have been victories in the war on cancer in the last several decades that have been worth celebrating, there is still much left to learn. Overall survival of patients who suffer from several types of cancer has not improved over the last 30 years, despite intensive therapies. Biomedical researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) believe that we are close to significant breakthroughs… and that new approaches such as personalized treatments and methods for earlier detection are now within our reach. TSRI scientists are poised to develop new approaches to save lives from this malicious and complex disease.

Widespread and Deadly

  • One in two men and one in three women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer some time during their lifetimes
  • More than one million Americans develop cancer each year—a new case is diagnosed every 30 seconds
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease in the U.S.
  • The human toll of cancer is immeasurable

By the time most tumors are detected, they have grown to contain well over one billion cells. Metastasis—the spread of a tumor from its primary site to other locations in the body—is the principal cause of most cancer deaths. New drugs that block metastasis are a major focus of TSRI investigators.

The Need for Philanthropy

While cancer is still a widespread problem, over the past several years federal funding for critical basic biomedical research has decreased in real dollars—by 25% over the past 10 years. What is especially important for scientific breakthroughs are high-risk, high-reward endeavors—the kind that are particularly difficult to fund through conventional government grants.

Greatly expanded private support is needed to find new treatments and tailor them to the characteristics and needs of patients. As funding for vital research dwindles, we need your help!

Our Initiatives

TSRI cultivates an interdisciplinary spirit where chemists, biologists, and others work hand-in-hand toward a common goal. We bring together scientists specializing in a variety of approaches to synergistically address critical issues in cancer research. Your support will enable us to expand faculty and postdoctoral fellowships in critical areas, so we can find breakthroughs in the shortest time feasible. The purpose is to find:

  • Novel therapeutic strategies—for both cancer prevention and treatment
  • Early disease diagnostics
  • New, safe and effective drugs

Our Discoveries

Future discoveries will build on a strong record of breakthroughs at TSRI, including, to name only a few:

  • Developing and testing the anti-leukemia drug cladribine (Leustatin® by Ortho Biotch), an intravenous medication with remarkably few side effects; cladribine now cures or produces many years of freedom from hairy cell leukemia in almost all those receiving treatment.
  • Inventing an advanced blood test for detecting and analyzing circulating tumor cells—breakaway cells from cancer patients’ solid tumors.
  • Devising a new technique for connecting drug molecules and antibodies to make highly targeted therapies called “antibody-drug conjugates”—that could be used, for example, to deliver toxic chemotherapy drugs to cancer cells while sparing most healthy cells.
  • Identifying a new family of drug candidates with potential for treating breast, brain, skin and other cancers.
  • Developing an innovative new method of economically synthesizing ingenol, a highly complex, plant-derived compound of interest to drug developers for its anti-cancer potential.
  • Discovering a potentially beneficial use of a once-abandoned compound for the treatment of neuroblastoma, a devastating childhood cancer, and for preventing the progression of colon, prostate, skin and breast cancer—now in clinical trials worldwide.
  • Discovering new, safe and highly effective drugs that disable cancer cell metabolism across a broad spectrum of human malignancies.

Half a dozen anti-cancer products based on research at TSRI are currently in various stages of clinical trials.

Please Join Us in the Fight for a Cure

If you have a loved one with cancer, you know that every new discovery is crucial in the race to cure this destructive disease. Gifts of all sizes are needed to bring us closer to a cure. Let’s work together to make the next breakthrough a reality. Make a tax-deductible gift to TSRI and make a difference today!

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Associate Professor Brunhilde Felding is working on new therapies to eliminate the spread of cancer, especially to the brain. Read More.

"My husband, Rod, died of non-smoker's lung cancer,” says TSRI donor and trustee Marjorie Fink. “The experience of that devastating disease, added to my general interest in science, prepared me to ask questions and understand the answers I received when I began to look into Scripps Research." Read More.


Thomas Bannister, PhD
Phil Baran, PhD
Michael Boddy, PhD
Dale Boger, PhD
Michael Conkright, PhD
Benjamin Cravatt, PhD
Eros Lazzerini Denchi, PhD
Celine DerMardirossian, PhD
Matthew Disney, PhD
Derek Duckett, PhD
Jane Dyson, PhD
Tina Izard, PhD
Brunhilde Felding, PhD
Yangbo Feng, PhD
Nathalie Franc, PhD
Larry Gerace, PhD
Patrick Griffin, PhD
Min Guo, PhD
Scott Hansen, PhD
Wendy Havran, PhD
Kim Janda, PhD
Gerald Joyce, MD, PhD
Katrin Karbstein, PhD
Shuji Kishi, PhD
Oktay Kirak, MD, PhD
Joseph Kissil, PhD
Thomas Kodadek, PhD
Manson Law, PhD
Jun-Li Luo, MD, PhD
Lindsey Miles, PhD
Kendall Nettles, PhD
Takanori Otomo, PhD
James Paulson, PhD
Howard Petrie, PhD
Matthew Pipkin, PhD
James Quigley, PhD
Christoph Rader, PhD
Steven Reed, PhD
Paul Robbins, PhD
William Roush, PhD
Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD
Karsten Sauer, PhD
Louis Scampavia, PhD
Paul Schimmel, PhD
Peter Schultz, PhD
Ben Shen, PhD
Ryan Shenvi, PhD
Linda Sherman, PhD
Vaughn Smider, MD, PhD
Andrew Su, PhD
Peiqing Sun, PhD
Mark Sundrud, PhD
John Tainer, PhD
Tim Tellinghuisen, PhD
Paul Thompson, PhD
Peter Vanderklish, PhD
Peter Vogt, PhD
Luke Wiseman, PhD
Dennis Wolan, PhD
Xiaohua Wu , PhD
Peter Wright, PhD
Xiang-Lei Yang, PhD
Changchun Xiao, PhD


More on the Anti-Cancer Campaign (pdf)