Two Cincinnati Businesses Invest Big in the UC Cancer Institute

Two $1 million gifts each from Ohio National Financial Services and Convergys will benefit cancer research, treatment and clinical care at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute, a partnership between the UC College of Medicine and UC Health. The gifts are intended to support efforts to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation that leads to more research funding, economic growth and better cancer outcomes for patients.
Cancer mortality rates are 25 percent better at NCI-designated centers, which receive more federal research dollars than non-designated centers. Cincinnati is one of only four cities its size that does not have an NCI-designated cancer center – the nearest is more than 80 miles away. NCI designation also benefits local economies, generating billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
“Achieving NCI designation ultimately means we can save more lives,” said William Barrett, MD, director of the UC Cancer Institute. “Commitments from local business partners like Convergys and Ohio National Financial Services are vital to our success in seeking NCI designation. It’s going to take all of us coming together to achieve this distinction and the research funding and economic growth it delivers.”
NCI designation also is contingent on an institute’s ability to attract top talent in the areas of basic research, translational research and clinical care. The $2 million investment from Convergys and Ohio National Financial Services will help recruit a physician scientist to serve as the new division chief of hematology oncology at the UC College of Medicine and will serve as translational research director for the Cancer Institute. He or she will be both a clinician and scientist.
In addition to hiring a new chief, these generous gifts will allow for continued recruitment of numerous researchers and clinicians to support the diagnosis and treatment of solid tumor and blood cell cancers. Researchers will be experts in drug discovery and small molecule clinical development, gene and cellular therapies, cancer etiology, risk prevention and assessment, cancer disparities and health equity.
“Ohio National has been part of the Greater Cincinnati community for more than 100 years, and the Ohio National Foundation is honored to have this opportunity to help support NCI designation,” said Gary T. “Doc” Huffman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ohio National Financial Services. “This will raise the bar of cancer research, treatment and care and dramatically improve outcomes in Greater Cincinnati.”
Currently, 69 centers in the United States have NCI designation. These centers receive about 70 percent of available federal funding and attract the best and brightest researchers. Last year, a $100 million fundraising campaign was announced to help achieve NCI status within five years.
“We want to make sure no patient should have to leave our region to receive the best cancer care,” said Richard Lofgren, MD, president and CEO of UC Health. “NCI designation will expand treatment options for our patients, including funding more life-saving clinical trials, so the best options are available here at home.”
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