For immediate release: April. 18, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - A Sealy & Smith Foundation grant for $4 million is expected to propel the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston into an advanced clinical resource for patients with cancer. Transformation is already underway.

Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UTMB center, says this funding supports the university's efforts to create a new approach where clinical care is delivered alongside ongoing basic and applied research along with prevention and education.

"UTMB has world-class strengths in areas such as aging, inflammation, health disparities, cancer education, and the comprehensive treatment of gastrointestinal, liver, breast and head and neck cancers which really set us apart from other institutions," Ever said. "Our ultimate goal is to continue to enhance and build upon these strengths to offer our community with cutting edge cancer treatment and diagnostic methods as well as wellness and preventive strategies - all delivered in a relaxed and healing environment."

"We have great strength and great promise in our comprehensive cancer center," Evers said. "The critical funding we have received from the Sealy & Smith Foundation will support a tumor tissue bank, an imaging facility, oncology clinical trials, recruitment of translational cancer researchers and an endowed chair."

"Dr. Evers brings extraordinary vision and leadership to this arena," said Dr. Garland Anderson, dean of the UTMB School of Medicine. "He is an accomplished researcher, clinician and teacher and he will guide this center in providing cutting-edge clinical care and delivering outreach, education and prevention services to our surrounding communities."

The CCC draws together many of the university's separate resources into an integrated whole. It includes the Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology, the UTMB Educational Cancer Center and the clinical enterprise for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The center will coordinate campus-wide efforts in cancer research, clinical care, education and prevention into a larger effort with multidisciplinary, multi-departmental and multi-institutional components "to provide the most up-to-date and compassionate care for our cancer patients," Evers said.

During his interim leadership of the CCC, Evers recruited five new faculty members, established a mentoring committee for junior faculty and initiated the cancer cell biology track, adding two new courses to the graduate school curriculum. During this time, UTMB also received an interdisciplinary training grant from the National Cancer Institute and an institutional research grant from the American Cancer Society. These grants provide training to the next generation of cancer researchers who will be mentored by basic researchers and clinician-scientists.

Much of the funding for the CCC comes from $14.6 million of research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Department of Defense and other organizations. Human resources include 87 faculty, associate and general members representing multiple departments and disciplines who are engaged in basic science, clinical or health disparities research related to cancer.

Evers earned his medical degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Tennessee, and completed residency training in surgery at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky., where he also served as administrative chief resident in general surgery. Evers has earned numerous awards, including the Jacob Markowitz Award from the Academy of Surgical Research and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the Surgical House Staff at UTMB. In 2005 and 2006 he was named a "Texas Super Doc" by Texas Monthly Magazine, and in 2004, 2005 and 2006 was listed in the Best Doctors in America.

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For more information:
Mark Evers bio: http://www.utmb.edu/surgery/Bme.htm
UTMB Comprehensive Cancer Center: http://www.utmb.edu/cancer/
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
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301 University Boulevard, Suite 3.102
Galveston, Texas 77555-0144
www.utmb.edu