Eric Lander: The great amplifier  pg. 6

Broad, founder of two Fortune 500 companies and a Caltech trustee, previously had been introduced to Lander by Baltimore. Through their foundations, Broad and his wife had made major contributions to the arts and education, and recently had begun to support medical research.

Family man
Eric Lander shows photos he's taken of Masai children during a trip to Kenya (top left); he and his son Daniel prepare to feast on chili crabs in Singapore (below left); and he shares a quiet moment with his daughter Jessica, now college-age (right).
Photos courtesy of the Lander family
“This was Saturday,” Broad recalls. “So my wife and I go to see his lab and we’re blown away by 140,000 square feet of robotics and computers working 24 hours a day decoding the human genome.

“And (Lander’s) here with all these young very bright people from Harvard Medical School and MIT who don’t want to go home they’re so excited.”

Asked what he wanted to do once the sequence was completed, Lander said he’d like to apply the new knowledge to help patients. “That whole notion appealed to me,” says Broad, who began talking to officials at Harvard and MIT.

In June 2003, Broad and his wife announced a $100 million gift to establish the institute that bears their name. Eighteen months later, they doubled their philanthropy to $200 million.

Within their sparkling labs near the MIT campus, institute researchers are applying genomic tools to better understand a wide range of ailments, from malaria and tuberculosis to psychiatric disorders, diabetes—and cancer.

Cancer lends itself to genomic investigations because it’s a genomic disease, Lander explains.

“We’re not talking about common, pre-existing genetic variations,” he said. “We’re talking about new mutations that arise in each tumor.

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