The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation

Dedicated to finding a cure for brain cancer

The Ivy Brain Tumor Center wouldn’t have been made possible without support from The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation, the largest non-government organization supporter of brain tumor research in the world. Founded by Catherine Ivy and her late husband Ben in 2005, the Foundation has committed over $132 million to brain tumor research and funded clinical and basic science investigational efforts across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Its organizational philosophy is to embrace risk, advocate collaboration, and fiercely support the brain tumor patient community.

Frustrated by the lack of progress being made over the years, Catherine decided to shift her Foundation’s approach and start investing larger dollars in multi-year projects with the hopes that progress would not only extend a patient’s life but also improve their quality of life. This new focus led to a $50 million dollar investment made in coordination with the Barrow Neurological Foundation to create the largest Phase 0 clinical trials program in the world. Now with the largest grant in the history of brain tumor research, the Ivy Brain Tumor Center is conducting cutting-edge, experimental research never before seen in the field of neuro-oncology. 

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The Foundation has committed over $120 million to brain tumor research.


In the summer of 2005, Catherine Ivy and her husband Ben were on vacation when Ben started to complain that his thumb was going numb. Shortly after their trip, Ben went to get what he thought was a pinched nerve examined, only to discover he had an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. On Thanksgiving Day, just four months later, Catherine lost her husband and found herself defeated by a disease that didn’t seem to have a cure in sight. Instead of being consumed by her grief, just a few months after Ben’s passing, Catherine changed the mission of their recently established Foundation to find a cure for brain cancer so that others wouldn’t have to suffer the same fate.

Since the inception of the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation, Catherine Ivy has become a trailblazer within the medical community. In 2014, she was honored by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) with the John S. McCain Leadership Award, which recognizes leadership and dedication making a significant impact in the fight against disease and helping patients worldwide. Catherine has also been instrumental in finding ways to bring major institutional collaborators together to fight brain cancer and she has been honored by a variety of her partners for the Foundation’s investment in finding a cure.

Without Catherine’s pioneering leadership, compassion and perseverance the industry-leading and live-saving work at the Ivy Brain Tumor Center would not be possible. She is not only the reason the needle is moving forward on brain cancer research, but she is the reason why millions of people across the world impacted by brain cancer are finding a sense of hope.

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Catherine Ivy and Nader in the research lab

Q&A with Catherine Ivy

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