Philanthropic gift will accelerate critical research at TGen and City of Hope using genomic insights to improve early detection and survival outcomes for a deadly blood cancer with limited treatment options

Following the loss of her husband from secondary acute myeloid leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer, Carter Altman made the gift to support research aimed at helping patients and families experiencing diagnosis and treatment challenges of this blood disorder

Carter Altman also appointed to TGen’s Foundation Board of Directors, where she will help guide and raise awareness of the transformational cancer research happening to support patients across the country

, September 8, 2022 — The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), part of City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States, today announced a partnership with actress, singer-songwriter and advocate Lynda Carter Altman to accelerate diagnostics and treatments, including precision medicine approaches, for a deadly and difficult-to-treat form of blood cancer. 

Carter Altman is providing a philanthropic gift to support this work, which honors her late husband, Robert Altman, who passed away last year after his myelofibrosis advanced into secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML), a rare blood cancer for which early detection is critical and there are currently limited treatment options. As a caregiver for her husband, Carter Altman experienced firsthand the unique challenges associated with treating and managing a rare cancer — and the need to better monitor and understand disease progression. 

The experience led her to seek answers and national expertise in precision medicine research, eventually extending her partnership and a gift to TGen and City of Hope to advance diagnostic and treatment options for patients and their families. Carter Altman has also been appointed to the Foundation Board of Directors for TGen.  

“When I lost Robert, I was left with so many questions. I wanted to understand why rare cancers are so difficult to treat, what research or treatment advances were being made to change that and, most importantly, how I could help lessen the challenges for other families facing a rare cancer diagnosis,” said Carter Altman. “I have long appreciated and respected the work of TGen and now City of Hope, and I’m thrilled to be partnering with them to make advances on both the diagnostics and treatment that I believe will change the future of rare cancer diagnoses.” 

Carter Altman’s gift will establish The Robert & Lynda Carter Altman Family Foundation Research Fund. This fund will support TGen and City of Hope’s two-track approach to developing leading-edge diagnostic and treatment technologies for myelofibrosis and its transition into sAML. The first track will fund a diagnostic project at TGen using tools like genomic sequencing to improve early detection and pinpoint disease progression. The second track will fund accelerated therapeutic development at City of Hope with the goal of enabling a first-in-human clinical trial of an investigational new drug to mitigate disease progression. The research will help scientists and physicians better understand a patient’s risk of developing more life-threatening forms of cancer, allowing for earlier intervention with precision medicine — a tailored treatment approach that harnesses genomic insights, clinical expertise and advanced analytics to pioneer personalized treatment and prevention. 

Jeffrey Trent, Ph.D., president and research director of TGen and a lifelong friend of Carter Altman, leads the collaboration with Michael Caligiuri, M.D., president of City of Hope National Medical Center and Deana and Steve Campbell Physician-in-Chief Distinguished Chair, to advance genomic research and medicine. Together, TGen and City of Hope will advance genomics diagnostics and precision medicine by leveraging TGen’s innovative development of genomic technologies that identify biomarkers in patients’ DNA to predict disease progression and City of Hope’s extensive research in blood cancers and experience implementing treatments to prevent disease progression. 

“It's an exciting time to be studying cancer diagnostics and treatment. Building on the research and innovation of our colleagues at City of Hope who are pioneers in this space, we’re able to apply the tools of genomics in new ways, reaching breakthroughs at an unprecedented pace,” said Trent. “Lynda has spent decades inspiring people, first with her iconic roles on screen, and now as she joins us in the battle to end cancer. We are grateful to have her involvement with this work and are confident that we can achieve her goals of helping other families avoid some of the challenges she personally experienced in her journey with her husband and his cancer battle.” 

City of Hope’s deep expertise in the treatment of blood cancers will play a crucial role in helping to evolve the insights and research advances into the clinical treatment setting. “This partnership and gift from Lynda ultimately support expedited and more precise care for all cancer patients. With City of Hope’s unique bench to bedside approach, we can move at unparalleled speeds to find solutions to challenging diseases,” said Caligiuri. “We are thrilled to have additional support and resources needed to further our commitment to ensuring all patients have timely access to appropriate care, genomic testing and precision medicine.”

City of Hope is leading the way in the democratization of cancer care — ensuring that every person living with cancer, regardless of their background or circumstances, has access to leading-edge cancer care.

“For 100 years, City of Hope has provided quality cancer care, and we continue to turn hope into reality for our patients. With TGen’s research and discovery, and now Lynda’s generous partnership, we are at the precipice of unlocking new breakthroughs in the genetic components of complex disease and precision medicine treatment,” said Robert W. Stone, City of Hope’s president and chief executive officer and the Helen and Morgan Chu Chief Executive Officer Distinguished Chair. “We are incredibly grateful for the partnership of powerful advocates like Lynda who help us harness and maximize the combined power of collaboration in our fight against cancer.” 

To support Lynda’s efforts, please click here.

About TGen, part of City of Hope

Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is part of City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. Follow TGen on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.

About City of Hope 

City of Hope's mission is to deliver the cures of tomorrow to the people who need them today. Founded in 1913, City of Hope has grown into one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. As an independent, National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, City of Hope brings a uniquely integrated model to patients, spanning cancer care, research and development, academics and training, and innovation initiatives. Research and technology developed at City of Hope has been the basis for numerous breakthrough cancer medicines, as well as human synthetic insulin and monoclonal antibodies. A leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy, such as CAR T cell therapy, City of Hope’s personalized treatment protocols help advance cancer care throughout the world. 

With a goal of expanding access to the latest discoveries and leading-edge care to more patients, families and communities, City of Hope’s growing national system includes its main Los Angeles campus, a network of clinical care locations across Southern California, a new cancer center in Orange County, California and Cancer Treatment Centers of America. City of Hope’s affiliated family of organizations includes Translational Genomics Research Institute and AccessHopeTM. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

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