Make a mark on cancer: 'Name a Gene' to support Dana-Farber

March 11, 2011

The striking Gene Display in the newly opened Yawkey Center for Cancer Care building at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute offers individuals a unique opportunity to show their support for Dana-Farber's life-saving mission in a visual and permanent way.

The Gene Display, made up of 2,600 4" by 4" tiles, or "genes," represents a microarray, an innovative technology used by cancer researchers to survey the activity of thousands of genes at one time. Supporters can contribute to Dana-Farber's mission by naming a gene with a personal message or in honor of a family member, friend, or caregiver. Each gene can be inscribed with a five line message (up to 20 characters on each line) and can be secured with a gift of $5,000, payable over one or two years.

The genes are installed on the curved walls on both sides of the hallway connecting the Yawkey Center to the Charles A. Dana building, creating a vivid display illustrating Dana-Farber's dedication and progress toward treating its patients with the latest in targeted therapies.

Because cancer involves the alteration of any of the 25,000 genes that comprise the human genome, scientists can classify tumors by their unique gene signatures, allowing more accurate diagnoses and ultimately more individual and targeted therapies for patients.

"Many of the most innovative advances in life-saving cancer treatments today are based on the genetic understanding of cancer," said Dana-Farber President Ed Benz Jr., MD. "This installation also holds the promise to be lifesaving as the funds raised will further fuel our mission to develop new and improved cancer treatments."

Dana-Farber patients and families can see how this science relates to their care as they walk by this representation, and view two video screens explaining the science behind the Gene Display.

The personal messages on the genes underscore the Dana-Farber supporters' dedication to Dana-Farber's mission.

To learn more about naming a gene in Dana-Farber's Gene Display, visit or contact Emily Lindberg at 617-582-8830 or by e-mail at

Sign up for updates ›