Cancer League of Colorado commits $2 million toward University of Colorado Cancer Center to endowed chair

 In funding cancer research

Cancer League of Colorado has filled a unique niche throughout its 43 years, providing seed grants for promising yet untested cancer research projects—the types of grants no other funder offers on a systematic basis in the Rocky Mountain region.

Scores of University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers have earned these grants this past decade, and parlayed them into far larger grants from federal funders such as the National Institutes of Health when these early research investigations proved to be fruitful lines of inquiry. With a new $2 million pledge toward a Cancer League of Colorado endowed chair at the CU Cancer Center, Cancer League now will go a step further to advance world-class cancer research here in Colorado, says Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, center director and professor of surgery and pharmacology at the CU School of Medicine.

“Cancer League of Colorado has helped the Cancer Center fund innovative science in the pursuit of our goal of relieving suffering from cancer,” Theodorescu says. “We may use this chair to recruit an eminent cancer scientist who will lead and pursue innovative cancer research in areas of strategic importance to our center. Together, the Cancer League’s grant funding and perpetual support of a scientific leader will help our center really make strides toward our scientific mission.”

In July 2011, 18 Cancer Center researchers received nearly $600,000 in Cancer League seed grants. Cancer League has provided more than $10 million in grants to Cancer Center investigators since 1985. These
grants recently have supported the work of CU Denver cancer researchers Pepper Schedin, PhD, Christopher Porter, MD, and Steve Anderson, PhD, among others.

“This endowed chair arose through detailed discussions we had with Cancer Center leaders about ‘how we can have the greatest impact in the fight against cancer in the state of Colorado.’ It became very clear that, to be one of the best cancer centers in the country, we need the best doctors. Some of these doctors cannot be recruited without the benefit of an endowed chair,” says Gary Reece, Cancer League president. “It’s important for our membership to know that our research support continues in full force, and that we work seamlessly with the Cancer Center. That will certainly continue.”