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Release: Oct. 2, 2001

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at UI to mark 21st anniversary Oct. 12-13

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Staff, supporters and patients will commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa with a special series of events on Oct. 12 and 13.

"Our 20th year was filled with so many momentous events, such as earning cancer center status and then comprehensive cancer center status from the National Cancer Institute, plus the generous $25 million gift from the Holden family, that we just weren't able to devote the time necessary to planning an anniversary event," said R. Edward Howell, director and CEO of UI Hospitals and Clinics. "This year, we wanted to take time during our 21st year, early in the 21st century, to honor the accomplishments of the many people who have devoted so much of their time and efforts to support the missions of the center."

The 21st anniversary event will kick off on Friday, Oct. 12, with a continuing medical education program for physicians, followed by a reception for program participants, faculty and staff in the John and Mary Pappajohn Clinical Cancer Center. On Saturday, Oct. 13, invited guests will tour research labs in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and enjoy an evening reception and dinner in the Atrium Dining Room in the 7th level of the John Colloton Pavilion at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Saturday's events will feature cancer survivors such as Andy Katherman, who received treatment at the Cancer Center 21 years ago and is now a UI student, and Hayden Fry, the former UI head football coach who beat prostate cancer. Scientists will also be on hand during tours of their labs to discuss how the discoveries they are making are being translated into treatments that can help people diagnosed with cancer.

"The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is a valuable resource for everyone in the region," said Robert Kelch, M.D., dean of the UI College of Medicine. "The faculty and staff here will continue to play a key role in making advances against cancer in the decades to come."

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, established the Cancer Center in 1980, as a matrix cancer center that included many departments at the UI. Richard L. DeGowin, M.D., served as the first director of the center.

In 1993, a generous gift from the Pappajohn family of Des Moines helped establish the John and Mary Pappajohn Clinical Cancer Center, providing a multidisciplinary approach to state-of-the-art cancer care. Richard D. Williams, M.D., coordinated the clinic's development. In 1994, Richard

G. Lynch, M.D., led the effort that restructured the center with the support of a Cancer Center planning grant. From 1994 through 1998, Robert B. Wallace, M.D., served as director of the Cancer Center and established much of the center's current research program and core resource structure. George J. Weiner, M.D., succeeded Wallace as director of the center in 1998.

In July 2000, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) named the center as an NCI-designated cancer center. On Sept. 1, 2000, the Holden family of Williamsburg, Iowa presented a landmark gift of $25 million to the UI, and the Cancer Center was renamed the Holden Cancer Center at the UI. In December 2000, the Holden Cancer Center achieved comprehensive status, the highest NCI ranking, and was renamed the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI.

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI is Iowa's only National Cancer Institute (NCI)- designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers are recognized leaders in developing new approaches to cancer prevention and cancer care, conducting leading edge research and educating the public about cancer.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at