Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban gift supports breast cancer clinical trials at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have made a generous financial gift to 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. They live in Nashville, home of Vanderbilt-Ingram, which has internationally recognized breast cancer researchers and clinicians.

The couple’s advocacy and philanthropy for this cause are rooted in Kidman’s experience as a teenager when she cared for her mother, a breast cancer survivor. In addition to their financial support for cancer research, they have given direct emotional support to patients. Kidman and Urban 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. 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. We realize that clinical trials can have a global impact when knowledge about treatment advancements is shared.”

Kidman’s commitment to women’s health and women’s issues is deep-rooted. In 2006 she was named, and continues to serve, as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, which aims to empower women, promote gender equality and women’s rights worldwide, and end violence against women.

“This gift from Nicole and Keith is crucial to our mission at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center,” said Vandana Abramson, MD, Donna S. Hall Professor of Medicine and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram. “Gifts from individual donors are like seeds in a garden. 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.”

A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram is renowned for its expertise in breast cancer. It is one of only six cancer centers in the country receiving the prestigious Specialized Programs of Research Excellence funding from the National Cancer Institute. 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. 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.

“We are grateful for the support that Ms. Kidman and Mr. Urban have given to our breast cancer research program. Their actions help us in our mission to lessen the burden of this disease,” said Pietenpol, holder of the Brock Family Directorship in Career Development, and Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Abramson and Park are currently leading a multi-center national clinical trial to evaluate changes in circulating tumor DNA levels to help guide therapy in metastatic breast cancer. Abramson and Pietenpol have just completed a national study evaluating immunotherapy in breast cancer. The gift from Kidman and Urban will help support clinical trials stemming from this research.

Park added, “We are humbled and honored to be recipients of this gift, which will positively impact the lives of patients with breast cancer and their families.”

(Photo by Angelea Presti-Yoder)