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The one hundred honoree: Ellen  Sigal, PhD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Ellen Sigal, PhD

Mass General Giving

With boundless energy and a hearty dose of business savvy, Ellen Sigal, PhD, is advancing cancer research. After losing her sister to breast cancer, Dr. Sigal transformed her grief into a lifelong commitment to marshal resources in support of cancer prevention and treatment.

In 1996, she launched Friends for Cancer Research, a think tank that is pioneering innovative public-private partnerships, conducting policy forums and educating the public. Its focus is on research and regulatory policy, with the goal of developing collaborative approaches to cancer treatment.

Dr. Sigal brings an unusual background to these endeavors: a doctorate in history and Russian literature and a successful business career in construction and real estate development.

As a self-directed learner, Dr. Sigal rapidly gained expertise in cancer research and applied her business acumen to forging unique partnerships across public, private and nonprofit sectors. After joining the board of the Duke Cancer Institute, where her sister was treated, she was named to the National Cancer Advisory Board under President George W. Bush. She has served on the boards of some of the nation’s most important cancer policy and research organizations, striving to further state-of-the-art cancer care.