CTRC Foundation gives $10.2 million for cancer research and care
Cancer is the leading cause of death for Texans aged 85 years and younger, claiming the lives of an estimated 38,000 Texans in 2011, with more than 107,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients in the same year.* The CTRC Foundation is stemming the tide of this deadly disease with a transformational $10.2 million gift to the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at the
UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, to advance and expand cancer research and care at the CTRC.
Gary V. Woods, chair of the CTRC Foundation Board, said it is vital for San Antonio to sustain a first-rate cancer center, especially for the citizens of this region.
“We are all directly affected by cancer, whether it is as a patient or through someone we know – a relative, friend or acquaintance,” Woods said.
“The education, screening, early detection and treatment the CTRC provides are all critical to the well-being and quality of life in San Antonio and South Texas. NCI designation leads to funding of research and related activities, as well as the recruitment of top scientists and clinicians, that translates to the best patient care and hope, through research, for a future without cancer.”
Woods added that support from the CTRC Foundation and the community, together with the leadership of Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., CTRC director, is essential to the success of the CTRC.
“Dr. Thompson is the consummate leader. He has been successful in recruiting to San Antonio some of the nation’s top scientists. The CTRC Foundation is proud to support his efforts that enable the CTRC to continue saving lives – and to advance its mission at a faster pace.”
Dr. Thompson said the gift comes at a critical time in the CTRC’s history.
“We are so grateful for this phenomenal gift that allows our researchers and clinicians to achieve their goal of improving and saving lives,” Dr. Thompson said. “Institutions of academic medicine across the country are experiencing a very tight funding environment. Many programs are suffering. The CTRC Foundation gift makes it possible for our CTRC to invest in both science and the scientific research infrastructure that are hallmarks of an NCI-Designated Cancer Center. Gary Woods and the board members of the CTRC Foundation have an absolute passion, commitment and vision for a cancer center in San Antonio that is on par with the very best in the world. Their support makes our mission possible.”
Established in 1995, the CTRC Foundation is a partner organization dedicated to funding the CTRC and its clinical, research and educational programs. Woods, who is president and CEO of McCombs Enterprises in San Antonio, has been a steadfast supporter of the cancer center since joining the Board in 1994. He assumed the role of CTRC Foundation Board chair in 2008, and he and his late wife, Glenda, served in numerous leadership roles throughout the years.
The CTRC is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named an NCI-Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the premier oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of new cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
The CTRC serves more than 4.4 million people in the high-growth corridor of South and Central Texas, including San Antonio, Austin, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, and handles 63,000 patient visits each year.
Tim Hui-Ming Huang, Ph.D., began his new role on Oct. 1 as deputy director of the CTRC and chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Institute of Biotechnology. He was recruited from Ohio State University where he served as professor of human cancer genetics in the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics.
Dr. Huang will lead translational and basic science research programs at the CTRC. In addition, he and his lab team will focus on developing new technology toward early detection of cancer and to further developing “cocktail approaches” (using appropriate combinations of therapies) to treat cancer.
“I am excited at the tremendous opportunity to become a part of the CTRC at this time in history,” Dr. Huang said. “With its already superb infrastructure, that includes the addition of the South Texas Research Facility, and its cadre of stellar scientists and programs, the CTRC is poised to build upon its basic, clinical and translational research that will directly benefit more patients than ever before. I look forward to helping facilitate scientific collaboration between bench researchers and clinicians. This will encourage the synergy of discovery and help move lab findings into clinical utility.”
For more information about the CTRC, call 210-450-5512 or visit CTRC.net.
*Statistics are from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The CTRC Foundation gift supports:
- Recruitment of Tim Hui-Ming Huang, Ph.D., from Ohio State University, as deputy director. Dr. Huang has studied cancer epigenetics, (the process of gene mutation in cells) for the last 17 years and has pioneered high-throughput technologies to investigate molecular interactions and gene behavior in the formation of tumors. He has identified tumor biomarkers (substances that can be found in abnormal amounts in some cancer patients) that will predict treatment outcomes for patients undergoing Phase I clinical studies.
- Recruitment of Athanassios “Ethan” Argiris, M.D., FACP, from The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as chief of hematology and oncology. Dr. Argiris is a nationally and internationally recognized medical oncologist and clinical researcher with expertise in the evaluation and treatment of patients with malignancies of the head, neck and lungs.
- Recruitment of Steven Dale Weitman, M.D., Ph.D., from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, as director of the Institute for Drug Development. Dr. Weitman is a pediatric oncologist focused on the development of new therapies for both adult and pediatric patients.
- Administrative efforts to renew with the National Cancer Institute as an NCI-Designated Cancer Center.
- An increase in the number of patients who will be recruited for and benefit from clinical trials offered through the CTRC.
- An increase in the number of patients who benefit from treatment and services through CTRC clinics.
- Programs of the Patient & Family Services Department, which strive to assist patients and families through every aspect of their cancer journey. A wide range of support services and programs are offered through its Kolitz Wellness Center.