Houston Methodist receives $25 million to expand cancer center

Houston Methodist has received a $25 million philanthropic gift from Dr. Mary and Ron Neal to expand the hospital system’s cancer center. This transformational commitment will support critical areas including translational research, attracting and retaining physician scientists focused on pioneering new cancer treatments and expanding the cancer center’s impact within the Greater Houston community and beyond. 

In recognition of their $25 million gift, the Houston Methodist Cancer Center will be renamed the Houston Methodist Dr. Mary and Ron Neal Cancer Center. The hospital system will raise an additional $12 million in matching funds, bringing the total philanthropic impact of this gift to $37 million.

“Houston Methodist is humbled to have the support of Dr. Mary and Ron Neal to elevate the cancer center and build upon our legacy of excellence in cancer research and treatment,” said Marc Boom, M.D., president and CEO of Houston Methodist. “Their gift plays an important role in advancing our leading medicine mission and bringing potentially life-saving cancer treatments to more patients throughout Houston and the nation.”  

The gift bolsters the ongoing research led by Jenny C. Chang, M.D., director of the Cancer Center and Emily Herrmann Presidential Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research. Dr. Chang’s groundbreaking research has significantly advanced cancer therapy with breakthroughs such as new targeted drugs that alter tumor immune landscape of triple negative breast cancer.

“Upon our initial tour of the cancer center, my husband Ron and I knew we wanted to support the incredible work Dr. Jenny Chang and her team are doing to not only help those battling cancer, but also help advance new cancer treatments that will have tremendous impact in the future,” said Dr. Mary Neal, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who practices part-time as a volunteer. “Since then, we’ve heard first-hand from patients who have benefited from the cancer treatment they’ve received at Houston Methodist. We have no doubt our commitment will further advance pivotal and innovative research beyond chemotherapy and radiation.”

This transformational gift also will fund and retain three endowed chairs and corresponding research funds for early-stage investigative research and therapies, support recruitment and fellowship training and expand the depth of clinical trials across all community hospitals within Houston Methodist. Another component of the gift is dedicated to ongoing cancer innovation efforts within the Center for Drug Repositioning and Development (CREDO).

“Our vision for the Dr. Mary and Ron Neal Cancer Center is to grow our network of cancer physicians offering comprehensive care with the latest technologies and clinical trials so that patients across the region have the best access to cancer care,” said Chang. “While the gift from the Neal family will have direct impact for patients at the community level in areas that are often deserts for cancer care, my hope is that it will also propel our ongoing research and work to the national level toward NCI designation.”

NCI-designated Cancer Centers meet the rigorous standards for transdisciplinary, state-of-the-art research and clinical care and focus on developing new approaches for preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. The Neal’s philanthropic gift will elevate the current research done at the cancer center and help with retaining talent to accelerate Houston Methodist’s pursuit of NCI-designation.

Longtime supporters of Houston Methodist, Dr. Mary and Ron Neal have a history of championing cancer research and treatments guided by Dr. Jenny Chang and other key medical initiatives at Houston Methodist. The Neal family’s previous gift to support cancer immunotherapy research was spurred by Dr. Chang’s passion to bring new life-saving treatments to patients faster.

For more information about Houston Methodist, visit houstonmethodist.org.