The Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, Address by Mr. and Mrs. Ross

Speech by Mr. Jack Ross, June 24, 2013

We would like to personally welcome everyone today to the inaugural award ceremony for the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine.  My wife, Robin and I are excited and honored to be a part of what we hope will become an award which will lead to a number of cures for disease.  This award will both recognize scientists for their past contributions to understanding the mechanisms of the diseases which inflict the world today and encourage them along with their colleagues to continue on to curing these diseases.  We would like to congratulate Dan Littman as the first recipient of the Ross Prize. 
It is often difficult to connect the years of research done by thousands of scientists to the bedside in the hospital.  But research is in fact very personal.  My personal connection to the world of research occurred when I was 29 years old.  My urologist had discovered testicular cancer in my body.  He told me how lucky I was to have the disease in 1986 rather than 1976.  The reason being that scientists led by Dr. Barnett Rosenberg at Michigan State University had discovered cisplatin, which become known as ‘the penicillin of cancer’.  This drug had been approved by the FDA in 1978 as a treatment for several cancers.  Incredibly enough it brought the cure rate for most forms of testicular cancer from 10% to over 90%.  I was in fact very lucky in 1986 and I owed it in fact to over 100 years of research on cisplatin.
Fifteen years ago Robin and I decided it was time for us to stop just writing checks to a variety of worthwhile charitable organizations but rather invest our time and money into an organization, which we were passionate about.  We joined the Board of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research arm of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.  Our goal was and is to have an impact on the curing of disease throughout the world.  The impact of the translational research that goes on at the Feinstein Institute reaches well beyond our local community on Long Island.  It will be brought to bedsides throughout the world to cure disease just like the work in Lansing, Michigan came to my bedside in 1986.
The Ross Prize was the idea of Dr. Kevin Tracy, the President of the Feinstein Institute.  Kevin believes that by establishing this award it will raise the visibility of the Feinstein Institute as well as broaden the reach of scientists at the Feinstein in establishing collaborative relationships with leading scientists throughout the world.  We all hope that recipients of the Ross Prize will continue to excel in their areas of research and impact so many people’s lives throughout the globe for many years to come.
Thank you.