AURORA | The CU Anschutz Medical Campus has received a $20 million philanthropic donation to establish a new center focused on finding cures and treatments for esophageal and gastric cancers.
The gift is from local donors Katy O. and Paul M. Rady, according to a Tuesday news release from CU Anschutz. Katy’s brother, Paul O’Hara, died from esophageal cancer in 2015 and the couple has funded a number of cancer research endeavors at CU in his honor.
In an email, CU Anschutz spokesperson Julia Milzer said the center “will put Colorado on the map as a leader in treating esophagus and gastric cancers and help save many lives.”
The Katy O. and Paul M. Rady Esophageal and Gastric Center of Excellence will include a new endowed chair and innovation fund at the school, increased recruitment and clinical trials and will expand the university’s existing screening and surveillance programs for esophageal and gastric cancers.
The center will be housed in the University of Colorado Cancer Center, the university said.
“With the help of the Radys, there is a greater opportunity to improve the future of esophageal cancer care and treatment for decades to come,” CU Cancer Center director Dr. Richard Schulick said in a statement.
Gastric cancer that is localized has a 70% five-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society, while gastric cancer that has spread outside the stomach has a five-year survival rate of 32%. The Society states that localized esophageal cancer has a 46% five-year survival rate and a 26% five-year survival rate if it has spread.
“When my brother was seen at the CU Cancer Center, we knew this place was different,” Katy Rady said in a statement. “That was partly due to their multidisciplinary approach in treating cancer and the experts that provided him advanced care. We want others to receive this same care by acting as a vessel that will spur breakthroughs and create new therapies. We hope this gift today will continue to help make a difference for families facing this cancer.”