David Koch Gives $18 Million to M. D. Anderson to Accelerate Clinical Application Of Scientific Findings In Genitourinary Cancers
David Koch, executive vice president and one of the principals of Koch Industries, Inc., has given The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center $18 million to create the David Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancers.
Under the direction of Christopher Logothetis, M.D., chair of the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, the Koch Center will bring together basic, translational and clinical scientists to rapidly move scientific findings to patients with diseases such as prostate cancer, which Mr. Koch himself has battled for many years.
“The time between an initial discovery and the final approval of a marker or drug can be decades,” says Logothetis. “The idea behind the Koch Center is to create a unique infrastructure that enables us to take abundant discovery and move it more efficiently and more reliably into human studies. The Koch Center will create a shared environment where researchers in basic science, applied science and all the fields with which we interact, will be able to obtain and analyze data the same way, use the same scientific language, establish strict project management deadlines and stay goal-oriented.”
This approach also allows the Koch Center to create a “memory.”
“Each time we do a study in humans or in animals, it will be recorded in such a way that allows us to retrieve the data to see how it relates to the next study,” explains Logothetis. “And, if a scientist leaves the institution, his or her work will be preserved in a format so it will remain useable and available to investigators world wide.”
Koch attributes his passion for supporting prostate cancer research to his own experience with the disease.
“I have been living with prostate cancer for 15 years and am under the care of Dr. Logothetis,” says Koch. “I am a survivor and I have tremendous sympathy for others who have this disease. When you are up close and personal with prostate cancer, you become a crusader. My wife and I have three young children, and I have great aspirations to live long enough to see all of them graduate from college. My children are tremendous incentives.”
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates about 218,890 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2007. About 27,050 men will die of the disease this year. Prostate cancer is the second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in men.
“We are humbled by the trust that our patients, such as David Koch, place in us for their care and with their gifts to the institution and we feel especially compelled to deliver results,” says Logothetis. “They drive us and give us a sense of responsibility just as much as a peer-reviewed grant.”
Koch has supported M. D. Anderson for many years, having served on institution’s advisory board - the University Cancer Foundation’s Board of Visitors - since 1999. He and his wife, Julia, also have given financially to the institution for more than a decade. Koch is an executive vice president and board member of Koch Industries, Inc., which owns a diverse group of companies with about $90 billion in revenues, 80,000 employees and a presence in nearly 60 countries. Familiar Koch company brands include STAINMASTER® carpet, LYCRA® spandex, Quilted Northern® tissue and Dixie® cups.
“I feel extraordinarily blessed to be one of the principals of Koch Industries,” says Koch. “The outstanding growth of my family company has been largely due to the heroic efforts of our executives and employees and has enabled me to be very generous to many worthwhile institutions.”
Koch has contributed more than $500 million over his lifetime to a wide variety of organizations and programs that further cancer research, enhance medical centers and support educational institutions, as well as programs that sustain arts and cultural institutions. In 2004, Koch received a presidential appointment to the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute.
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