Press Releases & Announcements

$1.5 Million Gift to WCHN Biomedical Research Institute Advances Cancer Research, Creates Endowed Position

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - Danbury, CT

Cristiano Ferlini, MD, PhD, WCHN Biomedical Research Institute

Ridgefield residents Rudy and Sally Ruggles have donated $1.5 million to the Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) Biomedical Research Institute to support its groundbreaking cancer research initiatives. The gift, made in honor of Cristiano Ferlini, MD, PhD, creates and endows the Rudy and Sally Ruggles Chief of Cancer Research, the Research Institute's first endowed position.

Dr. Ferlini, the Research Institute's director of cancer research, is a world-renowned physician-researcher whose recent discoveries are described as "a new milestone in the design of cancer-targeted therapies" with the potential to change the way chemotherapy drugs are developed, tested and utilized to target various cancers.

"The potential applications of our methodology are as profound as they are exciting," said John M. Murphy, MD, President and CEO of WCHN. "Not only have our researchers discovered an algorithm that can evaluate and predict with remarkable accuracy the efficacy of drugs currently in development, but it will also enable us to better utilize existing cancer drugs to target specific cancers in specific individuals, with better medical outcomes and fewer side effects."

Dr. Ferlini and his team "are on the verge of major breakthroughs in cancer treatment," said Rudy Ruggles. "Their discoveries rival that of the world's major cancer research centers, and we're delighted to support Dr. Ferlini's team to ensure the future of this critically important work."

Translational Research

According to Murphy, translational research at the Research Institute is distinctive in its ability to speed promising drug discoveries from the lab into treatments that directly benefit patients.

"We are able to focus on what matters right now, to the people who live in our community and are receiving care at our hospitals," said Murphy. "We can couple the community's interests with the best minds in science. Philanthropic donors like the Ruggles, to whom we are deeply grateful, help us investigate, innovate, discover and bring our findings back to the patient bedside ... and ultimately to the worldwide research community."

About the "New" Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. With this recent affiliation, the organization is now anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the three hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes numerous medical practices and sub-specialties across the region, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and other affiliates. For more information, visit Share your comments with us at; and/or