William Hansel Laboratory of Cancer Prevention Established With Major Gift to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

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Released: Monday, October 17, 2005

BATON ROUGE - The Pennington Biomedical Research Center has dedicated a new laboratory for cancer prevention research to honor the scope and promise of cancer research work led by William Hansel, Ph.D.

Through a major gift to the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation from Edward and Loretta Downey of Maryland, and a matching gift from Dr. Hansel, the laboratory was dedicated recently at a reception held to recognize the donors and the newly named laboratory.

“We cannot begin to express our deep gratitude to the Downey family, and the support of their uncle, with this major gift that establishes a laboratory devoted completely to the development and delivery of drugs for the treatment of cancer,” said Claude Bouchard, executive director of the Center. He praised Dr. Hansel for his work to develop cancer treating drugs that have recently been issued patents. One of these drugs is now being studied in a fast track process by the National Cancer Institute.

John Noland, chairman of the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation, presented an etched bronze medallion to the Downey’s and Dr. Hansel during the reception. An etched wall plaque identifying the new lab was also unveiled. “Gifts such as these create viable opportunities for achieving healthier lives today and for the next generation,” said Noland.

Also speaking at the event was Dr. William Richardson, chancellor of the LSU Agriculture Center, who talked about Dr. Hansel’s earlier groundbreaking research and discoveries in disease prevention in cattle.

Hansel, who has been a faculty member at the PBRC since 1990, also works with the LSU Ag Center, previously holding the Gordon D. Cain Professor of Animal Physiology. Prior to coming to Baton Rouge, Dr. Hansel held the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Animal Physiology at Cornell University. He has received numerous grants, including from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the USDA and various scientific awards.

More than 60 faculty and friends attended the event held in the Atrium of the state of the art Basic Science Laboratory Building. The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts both clinical and basic research. It is the largest academically based nutrition research center in the world, with the greatest number of obesity researchers on faculty. The Center's nearly 600 employees occupy several buildings on the 234-acre campus.

The William Hansel Laboratory of Cancer Prevention was dedicated recently at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center with a major gift to the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation from Edward and Loretta Downey (left) and a matching gift from Dr. Hansel (right). The laboratory is totally dedicated to the development and delivery of new medications for the treatment of cancer. Drs. Hansel and Carola Leuschner and their research team have developed two highly effective drugs that target and selectively destroy cancer cells. The National Cancer Institute has accepted one of these drugs into its Rapid Access to Intervention Development Program.


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.