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UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

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UC Davis Health System is recognized as a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charity by the Internal Revenue Service.

Your gift to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center qualifies as a charitable deduction for federal tax purposes as permitted by law.

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Research Giving Initiatives

News & Features

Prostate cancer survivor, Rollie Swingle (with Dr. Primo Lara)  

Cancer survivor stories  

Patients tell their own stories about cancer treatment and recovery.

Landgraf Foundation 

Cancer donor stories  

Donors share their inspirational stories of why they support UC Davis Cancer Center.

Giving to Cancer Center

Dr. Kung

UC Davis is a top-20 research university, producing more Ph.D.s in biological sciences than any university in the country. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has been an international leader for nearly a century, and its work in environmental toxicology, nutrition, and plant biology have important implications for the understanding and treatment of cancer. Oncologists at the School of Veterinary Medicine are world-leaders in their field, and, through the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine, their work provides valuable insights into the understanding and treatment of human diseases.

At the heart of the Cancer Center's efforts in basic science is the goal of translating new knowledge at cancer's molecular and chemical origins into the development of new prognostic markers and increasingly effective therapies and diminished side effects.

The function of the Cancer Center's Basic Science division is twofold:

  • Working closely with our clinical physicians in real time to refine existing and experimental therapies, our researchers on the medical center campus play a vital role in patient care;
  • Collaborating with microbiologists, plant and animal geneticists, pharmacologists, nutritionists, and toxicologists in the dozens of laboratories of UC Davis and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, our researchers pursue meaningful insights into the origins, mechanics, and possible cures for the many complex forms of cancer.

Basic science, while absolutely essential to the advancement of our understanding of cancer and other diseases, its conjectural and exploratory nature limit its appeal to outside revenue sources.

The dynamic collaborative spirit that exists between our clinical and basic science departments, and among the Cancer Center, University, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, bestows the Cancer Center with extraordinarily promising institutional advantages that endowment dollars will only enhance.

The Basic Science Endowment will aid the Cancer Center in attracting and supporting a noted junior or senior researcher who will:

  • Conduct research and attract outside research funding,
  • Attract other promising researchers, and
  • Work collaboratively to help leverage the university's considerable research capacities for the pursuit of cancer breakthroughs.

Dr. Lam

Clinical science is the front line of cancer treatment, where laboratory research and technology are skillfully applied to produce effective treatments for all cancers. We routinely see patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies for their condition and their only hope resides in novel treatments. As part of a dynamic research hospital built on a history of clinical excellence, the Cancer Center provides exceptional patient care and vitally important access to promising new therapies, many of which are being developed and improved in our research laboratories.

The Cancer Center's clinical research division has three objectives, all of which directly translate into better patient care and outcomes. Our clinical research physicians:

  • Develop drug therapies that interact with newly discovered proteins governing the growth and death of cells,
  • Lead and conduct a growing clinical trials program, and
  • Enhance programmatic collaboration between basic and clinical scientists.

The bulk of cancer research funding flows to the further development and study of treatments that have successfully demonstrated their promise or efficacy as a therapy. Funding for more novel, "outside the box" investigations is vitally important in the pursuit of breakthrough discoveries and treatment — particularly for an institution with the kind of proven research potential as UC Davis.

The Clinical Research Endowed Chair will aid the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in attracting and supporting a noted physician-researcher who will:

  • Provide exceptional patient care and clinical leadership,
  • Lead and conduct clinical and translational research and attract outside research funding,
  • Attract other promising researchers, and
  • Work collaboratively to help leverage and expedite the University’s considerable research capacities for the pursuit of cancer breakthroughs.

Cancer cell

After lung cancer, prostate cancer remains the most fatal form of cancer among males, and prostate treatment and research represent the only organ specific program in the Cancer Center. Our vast research within prostate cancer focuses on prevention, early diagnosis, improved local treatments and further understanding of why certain cells become hormone resistant.

An endowed chair for the study of prostate cancer is key to allowing the Cancer Center to solidify and grow this prostate program into one that will be as good as any in the nation, and it will do so by helping the Cancer Center attract dedicated researchers to the continuing study of prostate cancer.

An endowed chair for the study of prostate cancer will aid the Cancer Center in attracting and supporting a noted physician-researcher who will:

  • Lead and conduct clinical and translational research and attract outside research funding
  • Attract other promising researchers
  • Work collaboratively to help leverage the university's considerable research capacities:
    • To better understand the origins of the disease
    • To develop preventative strategies for the disease
    • To improve existing therapies and outcomes

Dr. Chew

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in American women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Steady and dramatic improvements in the early detection of breast cancer over the last 30 years have resulted in equally dramatic improvements in outcomes for hundreds of thousands of women. In the last decade, advances in surgical techniques and post-operative treatments have greatly reduced the physical and emotional impact wrought by this disease.

However, more than 200,000 new cases (1/3 of all cancers) of breast cancer are seen each year in the United States. In spite of marked improvements in treatments and outcomes, the tremendous efforts devoted to identifying the common link to the many varieties of malignancies have largely yielded more questions.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center breast cancer research teams work to create highly successful, multidisciplinary approaches to breast cancer treatment:

  • Strong clinical trials program in breast cancer includes breakthrough technologies with profound implications for the treatment and diagnosis of breast tumors.
  • Less invasive breast cancer surgery
  • New mammogram technology

Progress, innovation, and improved outcomes have been the marks of success in the treatment of breast cancer, but much remains to be done to diminish the effects of this disease.

An endowed chair for the study of breast cancer will aid the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in attracting and supporting a noted physician-researcher who will:

  • Provide exceptional patient care and clinical leadership
  • Lead and conduct clinical and translational research and attract outside research funding
  • Attract other promising researchers, and
  • Work collaboratively to help leverage the university's considerable research capacities
    • To better understand the origins of the disease
    • To develop preventative strategies for the disease
    • To improve existing therapies and outcomes

Dr. Gandara

At the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, lung cancer patients from across the continent and beyond are finding not merely compassionate care and leading-edge treatments but also cause for hope and encouragement. Under the direction of Dr. David Gandara, a nationally recognized leader in cancer research and treatment, UC Davis has developed a collaborative treatment model for thoracic cancers that is being emulated at hospitals around the country. Here, lung cancer patients benefit from a team-based approach: the entire staff of thoracic cancer physicians meets weekly to review each patient's highly individualized treatment regimen, an approach that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the risks of the many trial therapies administered by the Cancer Center.

The nature of lung cancers and the organs they affect makes early detection difficult, and, in contrast to other cancers, early detection has yet to demonstrate improved outcomes. Typically, by the time such cancers are diagnosed, they have progressed to other organs, the conventional treatments for which include chemo- and radiation therapy. Very recently however, a number of new targeted-drug therapies have shown promising, even dramatic, outcomes where before there was meager cause for optimism.

Recent breakthroughs in the development of targeted-drug therapies make this an auspicious time for the Cancer Center to strengthen its program by pursuing additional clinical trials and attracting more patients.

An endowed chair for the study and treatment of lung cancer will aid the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in attracting and supporting a noted physician-researcher who will:

  • Provide exceptional patient care and clinical leadership,
  • Lead and conduct clinical and translational research and attract outside research funding,
  • Help meet growing patient demand, and
  • Work collaboratively to help leverage the university's considerable research capacities:
    • To better understand the origins of the disease,
    • To develop preventative strategies for the disease, and
    • To improve existing therapies and outcomes.

Researcher

The highly trained and experienced pediatric cancer team at UC Davis Children's Hospital represents the most advanced, comprehensive care for the children in our region. Each year our pediatric oncologists treat over 50 new cases, and our clinics log in excess of 2,500 patient visits. At any one time, 50 clinical trials, which have been linked to improved outcomes, are open for children with cancer as part of the federally funded Children's Oncology Group cooperative research program.

The key ingredients for a dynamic research program in pediatric cancer at UC Davis are well within reach. Gene specific therapies are being successfully administered to children and adults, and our transplant program rivals that of Stanford, UCSF, and Oakland Children's Hospital. But due to pressing clinical demands and strained resources, our physicians have little opportunity to conduct research.

An endowed chair in pediatric cancer would make possible the recruitment of a dedicated physician-researcher to form the nucleus of a pediatric cancer research team at UC Davis. A fully funded research program in pediatric cancer will contribute to the overall strength of the Cancer Center and improve our level of service to the families of Northern California. When the life expectancy of a cured child is considered, the impact of a gift in support of this program is profound.

An endowed chair for the study and treatment of pediatric cancers will aid the Cancer Center in attracting and supporting a noted physician-researcher to:

  • Provide exceptional patient care and clinical leadership,
  • Lead and conduct clinical and translational research and attract outside research funding,
  • Work collaboratively to help leverage the university's considerable research capacities,
  • Better understand the origins of the disease,
  • Develop preventative strategies for the disease, and
  • Improve existing therapies and outcomes.

Cancer cell

Geneticists, immunologists, and molecular biologists at UC Davis are working to discern exactly how the complex molecular functions regulating the growth and death of normal cells are altered to trigger the growth of tumors that multiply and spread.

While many questions about the mechanics of cancer remain unanswered, the extraordinary efforts to unravel these complexities have led to significant and promising improvements in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Genetic research has made clear links between a number of specific genes, that when mutated, tend to result in cancers.

Based on this kind of knowledge, physicians and patients can work together in new ways to greatly minimize the risks of developing these cancers. These same advances have led to the development of experimental but promising gene therapies, which involve the replacement of missing genes or the repair of damaged genes by supplying new genetic material to the patient.

Physicians and researchers, using the same insights and techniques developed in gene therapy, are also exploring ways to enhance the immune system's cancer fighting capacity as they learn more about the complex proteins that control the normal life and death cycle of the cell.

While the process of discovering, testing, and producing new drugs is enormously risky and costly, the success of such drugs, as limited as it may be, gives impetus and hope to physician-researchers like those at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Whether it is genetic counseling for those who have inherited cancer-causing genes, cancer immunology, which fights cancer and improves other therapies by working with the body's immune system, or stem cell transplants to replace or repair missing or malfunctioning DNA, hope lies ahead.

The ideal program would be driven by the holder of an endowed faculty chair, supported by two junior researchers, who can work collaboratively with UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Cancer Center physicians and scientists to advance the understanding of cancer genetics and potential gene-based therapies.

Researcher

Among the newest and most promising areas of cancer research, immunotherapy (or biological therapy) seeks to make use of the body's natural immune function to fight cancer or to lessen the side effects of chemo- and radiation therapies.

The relationship between cancerous tumors and the immune system is not fully understood. It is possible that cancers may develop when the immune system either breaks down or fails to function normally. Unlike other diseases, cancer cells "mask" their presence to the immune system and grow unchecked.  Researchers and clinicians in the field of immunology are developing therapies for repairing, stimulating, or enhancing the immune system's response to cancerous cells.

Immunotherapy has tremendous therapeutic promise: it is free of the harmful side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation, free of the risks and consequences of surgery, and, because immunotherapy utilizes the body's "built in" cellular disease-fighting mechanisms, it has the potential to combat malignancies, detected and otherwise, anywhere in the body.

At the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, important breakthroughs are being made towards the development of biological therapies. 

At present, the UC Davis Medical School faculty does not have an immunologist fully dedicated to cancer research. The ideal program would be driven by the holder of an endowed faculty chair, supported by two junior researchers, who can leverage the exceptional immunological resources in the health system's North-Central California Center for AIDS research, the California National Primate Research Center, and the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine.