Howard and Susan Elias donated $16.25 million to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the organization announced this week. The gift will go toward accelerating brain tumor and cancer neuroscience research.
The Eliases have supported MD Anderson since Harrison, Howard and Susan’s son, was diagnosed with brain cancer. In 2000, Harrison underwent a successful surgery by Dr. Frederick Lang.
“Dr. Lang and the incredible team at MD Anderson saved my son’s life more than two decades ago,” says Howard in a news release. “Now is the time for us to increase our commitment so we can play a significant role in advancing cancer neuroscience research specifically focused on brain tumors and the nervous system. We want other families to have the chance to see their son grow up, like our family has.”
The donation is the lead donation to concentrate cross-disciplinary research in cancer neuroscience, per the release.
“Our focus is on unraveling the fundamental scientific principles driving the cancer-neuroscience interaction,” Lang says in the release. “These advances will drive prevention, early detection and possibly even cures for neurological cancers; will lead to strategies to overcome the adverse effects of cancer treatments on the nervous system; and will address mental health needs in cancer patients, with the ultimate result of dramatically improving outcomes.”
Lang leads the Cancer Neuroscience Program alongside Dr. Vinay Puduvalli, M.D., chair of Neuro-oncology;and Jim Ray, Ph.D., director of the Neurodegeneration Consortium.
“A future free from cancer is unattainable unless we work together,” says Dr. Peter WT Pisters, president of MD Anderson. “Howard and Susan’s generosity and passion will play a crucial role as we work in this emerging space for generations to come. On behalf of our patients and their families, we extend our heartfelt gratitude.”
Howard Elias worked as president of Services and Digital at Dell Technologies, overseeing global support, deployment, consulting, education and managed services, the IT organization and Virtustream. He also co-lead Dell Technologies Select, an elite sales team focused on serving some of Dell Technologies’ largest customers.
Howard was responsible for setting and driving strategy to enable and accelerate the mission-critical business transformations of customers and Dell’s own global operations.
Previously, he held various leadership positions at EMC, including president and chief operating officer of Global Enterprise Services.
In 2016, he was tapped to be EMC’s lead for the Dell and EMC integration, overseeing the value creation and combination of the largest technology merger in history.
Howard joined EMC in 2003 from Hewlett-Packard where he was senior vice president of Business Management and Operations for the Enterprise Systems Group. Prior to Hewlett-Packard, he held executive positions at Compaq, Digital, AST Research and Tandy Corporation.
Howard was a co-founder and served on the board of managers for the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Company. He currently serves as chairman of TEGNA Inc., a media and digital business company, and is a member of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. He attended Wayne State University and Lawrence Technological University.