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CU Cancer Center Receives $20 Million Gift to Advance Esophageal Cancer Research and Care

The philanthropic investment from Katy and Paul Rady will fund initiatives to accelerate medical breakthroughs and improve patient outcomes

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Written by Julia Milzer on December 6, 2022
What You Need To Know

The establishment of the Katy O. and Paul M. Rady Esophageal and Gastric Center of Excellence will further elevate the CU Cancer Center among the country's top cancer research and care destinations. The Center will enable physicians and researchers to explore new treatment approaches and provide valuable resources needed to drive advancements in the prevention, detection and treatment of esophageal and gastric cancers. 

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus today announced the creation of the Katy O. and Paul M. Rady Esophageal and Gastric Center of Excellence, made possible by a $20 million philanthropic investment from Katy O. and Paul M. Rady.

The investment will advance esophageal and gastric cancer research, clinical trials, screening, surveillance and treatments.

The Center will be housed in the University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center, recognized as one of the best cancer centers in the country and one of the few National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the Rocky Mountain region.

Read more about Paul (Paulie) O’Hara’s

cancer care story, the inspiration behind

the family’s significant gift.

“The CU Cancer Center’s recognition and experience as a national leader in research and care makes them well-suited to lead efforts to accelerate medical breakthroughs and ultimately improve outcomes for patients with complex cancers like esophageal and gastric cancer,” said Katy and Paul Rady.

Katy lost her brother, Paul R. O’Hara II, to esophageal cancer in 2015 and created a lasting tribute to his memory in the form of the Paul R. O’Hara II Endowed Chair in Esophageal Cancer at the CU Cancer Center.

“When my brother was seen at the CU Cancer Center, we knew this place was different. That was partly due to their multidisciplinary approach in treating cancer and the experts that provided him advanced care,” Katy Rady said. “We want others to receive this same care by acting as a vessel that will spur breakthroughs and create new therapies. We hope this gift today will continue to help make a difference for families facing this cancer.”

The gift could alter the cancer treatment landscape, shaping the way the disease is treated as researchers work toward finding cures.

“With the help of the Radys, there is a greater opportunity to improve the future of esophageal cancer care and treatment for decades to come,” said Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, director of the CU Cancer Center and chair of the Department of Surgery at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

At the forefront of innovation in esophageal cancer care and research

This gift will support the CU Cancer Center's efforts to continue attracting and retaining the best minds in the field and hasten progress in cancer research and care.

To enable that vision, this investment will support the following key priorities:

  • A New Endowed Chair and Innovation Fund: Sachin Wani, MD, professor of medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has been named the inaugural chairholder and will use the endowed innovation fund for seed grants, student support and other high-priority programs.
  • Recruitment: Support the recruitment of top talent and infrastructure for innovation and new programs.
  • Clinical Trials: Develop and expand clinical trials and an expand the biorepository named for Katy’s late brother, Paul R. O’Hara II. 
  • Screening and Surveillance: Expand and bolster existing screening and surveillance programs that will lead to better patient results and fewer deaths from esophageal and gastric cancers.

“We are honored and grateful for this generous gift from the Radys,” said Sachin Wani, MD, inaugural director of the Katy O. and Paul M. Rady Esophageal and Gastric Center of Excellence. “This gift allows us to change the paradigm and offer patients diagnosed with these complex cancers a higher survival rate. By changing screening models and expanding outreach efforts, we can identify those with precancerous conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus earlier and help ensure that they never progress to esophageal cancer.”

The result, he believes, will be life changing.

“This will enable skilled physician and researchers to explore new approaches to treatment and for the CU Cancer Center to be at the forefront of innovation in the field of esophageal cancer research,” Wani said. 

Featured Experts
Staff Mention

Richard Schulick, MD, MBA

Staff Mention

Sachin Wani, MD