CHICAGO - The University of Chicago was among six institutions to which the not-for-profit Ludwig Cancer Research organization awarded $540 million grants Monday to fund cancer research.

The university and the others all will receive $90 million grants each to fund work on treatments to end cancer.

The University of Chicago was among those institutions initially shared $120 million in 2006 to create Ludwig Centers for cancer research. The other institutions are Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Stanford University.

The new gift of $90 million to each of the six brings to $900 million the total they have received from Ludwig Cancer Research, according to a news release from the University of Chicago.

"The Ludwig funding enables us to increase the pace of discovery at a time when federal research funding has been severely curtailed," said Kenneth S. Polonsky, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago.

The university will use the funding to accelerate research on metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread from a primary tumor to multiple distant sites.

Daniel K. Ludwig established the international Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in 1971. He made his fortune after inventing the supertanker and investing in oil, gas, mining, forestry, real estate, agriculture, ranching and luxury hotels. He died in 1992.

The 123-year-old university in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood south of downtown carries ratings of AA-plus from Fitch Ratings, a Aa1 from Moody's Investors Service and a AA from Standard & Poor's.

The university benefits from its international status as a top research school, increasing demand that has allowed it to tighten acceptance rates, and strong liquidity supported by diverse revenue streams and solid balance resources. The school has an enrollment of 15,415. Liquidity is supported by unrestricted cash and investments of $5.14 billion. The university also benefits from a $6.7 billion endowment.

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