A family legacy of innovation

By Alex Branch

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Virginia Morris Kincaid’s family has a legacy of innovation.

Her father, Arthur J. Morris, saw too many working citizens struggle to acquire bank loans. In 1910, he established the Morris Plan Banks, which introduced nationally the concept of “installment credit” for consumers based off character references and proof of earnings.

Mrs. Kincaid, a fierce advocate of business opportunities for women, helped establish and became a director of the Women’s National Bank of Washington, chartered in 1977 to emphasize service to female customers at a time most banks still preferred to deal with men.

More than 20 years after Mrs. Kincaid’s death, a foundation in her name continues the family legacy of supporting innovation, such as research into novel cancer therapies at UNT Health Science Center.

The Washington D.C.-based Virginia Morris Kincaid Foundation has made generous contributions to advance research by Andras Lacko, PhD, into a delivery system for anti-cancer drugs that effectively kill cancer cells and tumors while protecting normal tissue.

The innovative approach to fighting cancer aligns with the purpose of the foundation that Mrs. Kincaid created, said her great-nephew Colby Walton, president of the foundation’s eight-member board of directors. Advancing medical research, improving public education and creating opportunities in business for women were among her chief interests.

“Like most of us, she had family members and friends who suffered from cancer,” Walton said. “She believed in finding imaginative, new approaches to address issues and diseases that affect humanity. That’s what is happening at the Health Science Center.”

Dr. Lacko, Professor of Physiology and Anatomy, is researching a delivery system that would rely on drug-carrying synthetic “good” cholesterol nanoparticles that target cancer cells and bypass most normal cells, sparing the patient the harmful side effects of chemotherapy.

The foundation receives progress updates from Dr. Lacko’s laboratory and is encouraged that the work could one day lead to more effective treatments for even the most difficult cancer cases, Walton said.

“This is innovation,” Walton said. “We are proud to support Dr. Lacko and the Health Science Center.”

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