Ludwig Cancer Research is an international community of distinguished scientists dedicated to preventing and controlling cancer. American businessman Daniel K. Ludwig began to support cancer research with the establishment of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in 1971. Today, the scientific efforts endowed through his resources have grown to encompass the Ludwig Institute and the Ludwig Centers at six U.S. institutions, all pursuing breakthroughs to alter the course of cancer.
Daniel K. Ludwig was born June 24, 1897, in South Haven, Michigan, USA. By the 1960s he was among the richest men in the world, with a self-made empire of some 200 companies. By the time of his death, he had pioneered the modern supertanker, 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 estates, and developed a forest-products and agricultural enterprise that encompassed three million acres in the Amazon basin.
In 1971, he launched the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (he had to be persuaded strongly to allow his name to be used), endowing it with nearly all of his international holdings. That endowment is managed by the LICR Fund.
Upon his death in August 1992, Mr. Ludwig's estate also provided for cancer research support at six leading U.S. academic institutions.
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.
December 17, 1974