George Atweh, MD, director of the UC Cancer Institute was honored at the 2011 American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball, held in early June.
The gala had attendees donning cowboy hats and calling "giddy up” in support of local cancer research and raised $110,000 for local cancer research efforts. Currently, scientists at the UC Cancer Institute hold about $1.6 million in grants from the American Cancer Society, with total anticipated funding amounting to $2.1 million.
"The American Cancer Society does wonderful work in our community by funding local research and connecting people with important resources. We are happy to partner with them in lessening the strain on cancer patients and their families,” says Michael Edwards, Christian R. Holmes Professor of Surgery and chairman, of UC’s department of surgery and vice president for system development at UC Health. Edwards served as co-chair of the 2011 Cattle Baron’s Ball with Shawna Elkus, senior vice president, global commercial banking - central region, Bank of America, N.A., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.
American Cancer Society-supported UC research projects span multiple College of Medicine departments and include research on how chronic infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori may cause gastric cancer, vitamin D’s potential role in breast cancer prevention and retinoblastoma (Rb) protein family’s role in the development of cancerous lung tissue.
Atweh was chosen as this year’s honoree based on his efforts to expand and improve the UC-based cancer research, education and patient care program through the UC Cancer Institute.
Under his direction, the UC Cancer Institute has made significant progress in a short time, including the recruitment of nearly 30 cancer-focused clinicians and researchers and launch of a comprehensive patient support services program focused on quality of life issues. The launch of an experimental drug trials program offers patients access to first-in-human clinical trials and a molecular therapeutics research program for brain tumors will bring a subspecialized research team to Cincinnati. A centralized tumor bank and pre-clinical imaging facility for translational research efforts have also opened.
"Building a top-notch adult cancer program benefits residents through direct patient care but also benefits the community at large through job creation and advancement of science,” adds Atweh, Koch Chair and professor of internal medicine at the UC College of Medicine and director of the UC Cancer Institute.
The UC Cancer Institute includes the adult cancer care services provided at all UC Health-affiliated inpatient and outpatient settings—including the Barrett Cancer Center, University Hospital, UC Health Physician Offices in Clifton and West Chester and West Chester Hospital—as well as Precision Radiotherapy in West Chester.
"Patients deserve the most advanced care available close to home, and the goal of the UC Cancer Institute is to elevate the level of cancer care in our region by partnering with cancer specialists throughout the metropolitan area,” explains Atweh. "The UC Cancer Institute brings together a wide-ranging team of oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologists, gynecologists, pathologists and dermatologists in the region’s only academic health care setting. All have expertise in specific areas of cancer care and all work together as a cohesive team.”
The UC Cancer Institute is part of the Cincinnati Cancer Center, a joint cancer program involving the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and UC Health University Hospital. The collaborative initiative brings together interdisciplinary research teams of caring scientists and health professionals to research and develop new cures, while providing a continuum of care for children, adults and families with cancer.