The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd (LICR) was established in 1971 by the American business magnate Mr. Daniel K. Ludwig, who bequeathed a substantial proportion of his estate for the endowment of the Institute. LICR is now the largest international academic non-profit dedicated to understanding and controlling cancer. LICR is actively bridging the gap between the laboratory and the clinic, as set out in Mr. Ludwig’s vision, by sponsoring and conducting its own clinical trials in order to investigate the therapeutic utility of its research discoveries.
Mr. Ludwig also established a trust, known as the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, which was substantially disbursed in 2006 to create Ludwig Centers at six leading academic institutions in the USA: Pritzker School of Medicine (Chicago, IL), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY), and Stanford University Medical Center (Stanford, CA). The disbursement from the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research was, at the time, the largest single gift to date by a foundation to cancer research in the USA. The Trustees directed that collaboration between the Ludwig Centers and the LICR - known collectively as Ludwig Cancer - be a key feature of the disbursement.
Mr. Ludwig was born on June 24, 1897 in the lakeside town of South Haven, Michigan, USA. By the time of his death on August 27, 1992, he had pioneered the development of a great supertanker fleet, participated in major oil and gas projects throughout the world, become a major investor and operator in the production of coal and other minerals, acquired and developed luxury hotels and other real estate properties, and developed a forest-products and agricultural enterprise, known as the Jari Project, which encompassed three million acres in the Amazon basin.
Mr. Ludwig’s statement (below) clearly illustrates his vision, and the guiding principles of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd.
In creating this organization I have been guided by certain principles which throughout my life I have found to be highly effective. Success in any complex enterprise consists in bringing the best minds to bear on each problem, in providing the best resources possible, and in putting each concept into practice whenever and wherever the opportunities are most favorable. I believe firmly in the value of applying these principles in grappling with tasks as momentous as finding ways to relieve the human suffering caused by cancer.
Why should this undertaking be international? The rare vision and ability needed in the battle against cancer are not limited by frontiers, and the scientists who possess these gifts must be sought wherever they are to be found. Nor does cancer reveal itself in the same guise in every nation, but strikes different populations in different forms. Yet despite the growing necessity for concerted worldwide effort, I find no agency, which has both the truly international scope and the substantial resources, which I deem essential for a comprehensive attack on human cancer.
In my judgment the ultimate conquest of this frightful disease is not yet in sight, and the same view is held by most informed physicians and scientists in bio-medical research. In contrast to those who would yield to undue optimism, and who hope for too much from present programs. I am persuaded that eventual mastery of cancer will come only from intense and unremitting scientific exploration over many decades. This should not be hindered by the changing policies of governments and the vagaries of public interest. Accordingly it is my intention that the Institute shall be so structured as to ensure secure and continuing support for the attainment of its aims. The elimination of cancer will surely rank as one of man’s greatest and uncontroversial achievements. That day may be long delayed. How long we cannot tell. But I do not doubt that it will surely come.
D. K. Ludwig
December 17, 1974