Highlights in the History of the Walther Cancer Foundation
Winona Memorial Hospital sells and Joseph E. Walther, M.D. focuses all available resources for a major assault on cancer. With nearly $40 million in proceeds from the hospital sale, he creates the Walther Medical Research Institute with the vision of a world-class institution dedicated to three focus areas: the Walther Oncology Center; the Mary Margaret Oncology Care and Research Center; and the Winona Memorial Foundation.
Hoosier Oncology Group with support from the Walther Cancer Institute, increases the number of patients involved in research protocols from 100 to 172. The original membership of 35 grows to 118 physicians from throughout Indiana and the surrounding states. Dr. Patrick Loehrer, chairman, and Dr. William Fisher, chairman of the Clinical Trials Task Force, are invited by the American Society of Clinical Oncology to present papers at the Society's annual meeting in Atlanta.
Plans begin for a world-class "Walther Oncology Center" to be located at Indiana University School of Medicine. A commitment to basic laboratory research centers in the laboratory of Hal Broxmeyer, Ph.D.
The St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Lafayette, Indiana, celebrates the completion of the Mary Margaret Walther suites, which are three comfortable and attractive sets of rooms for cancer patients and their families. The suites are designed so families and loved ones of cancer patients can be in adjoining rooms.
Named changed from Walther Medical Research Institute, Inc. to Walther Cancer Institute.
Walther Cancer Institute and Purdue University enter into an agreement to promote cooperative research efforts between the two institutions. Under the leadership of Jack Dixon, Ph.D., the Wiley distinguished professor of biochemistry at Purdue; the affiliation provides a means for scientists at Purdue, the Indiana University School of Medicine and other universities within the state to rapidly acquire new technologies and methodologies that use recombinant DNA and gene transfer technologies.
The Indianapolis Business Journal quotes Joseph E. Walther, M.D., as saying: "We don't invest in bricks and mortar - Edison didn't, neither did Bell. We are applying our funds to people and taking advantage of the fine facilities that already exist and the experts who already exist but who aren't coordinating their activities as well as they could. We don't envision a huge physical complex - only a cure."
Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, Director of the Walther Oncology Center, receives international acclaim for his work on cells recovered from the umbilical cords of newborn babies. These cells can be frozen, stored and used at a later date in cord blood transplants to correct blood cell disorders.
Walther Cancer Institute establishes its Scientific Review Panel. The committee consists of six nationally known and respected cancer researchers from the Mayo Clinic, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, the National Institutes of Health, the University of Alabama and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. John Durant, vice president for health affairs and director of the Medical Center at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, who was instrumental in establishing Walther Cancer Institute, serves as chairman. The committee conducts the first review of the Institute's progress to assure a superior level of scientific productivity.
Walther Cancer Institute enters into a collaborative research agreement with the University of Michigan.
Walther Cancer Institute signs an agreement with the University of Notre Dame to support two senior level postdoctoral research fellows.
The Walther Oncology Center presents the first International Cord Blood Conference at the Indiana University Medical Center.
|Barb & Bill Given|
The University of Notre Dame and the Institute develop plans for a new partnership through the creation of the Walther Cancer Institute Center of Excellence in Cancer Research at Notre Dame. The goal of the new affiliation is to establish Notre Dame as a leading center for basic laboratory and applied cancer research in Indiana.
Walther Cancer Institute enters into an agreement with Michigan State University to conduct a research project on cancer care interventions with newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families.
Walther Oncology Center scientists discover molecules that may help counteract some of the side effects of chemotherapy. They also identify molecules and genes that may be involved in the progression of cancer and increase their knowledge of immune cells involved in cord blood transplantation.
A growth in the endowment enables the Institute to double the size of its basic laboratory research program at the Walther Oncology Center, expand research commitments to Purdue and Notre Dame and add components to the Mary Margaret Walther Program.
The Institute's translational research program at the University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center begins.
The Mary Margaret Walther Program establishes the Behavioral Cooperative Oncology Group (BCOG) to bring researchers and practitioners together from various health-related disciplines in several Midwest states.
A $1.5 million National Cancer Institute training grant is awarded to Purdue University for a period of five years to train four graduate students and three postdoctoral fellows in the area of drug and carcinogen-DNA interactions. The principal investigator is Donald Bergstrom, Ph.D., Walther Professor of Medicinal Chemistry.
The Hoosier Oncology Group presents promising new results from a breast cancer study at the 25th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which is internationally recognized as the leading conference focusing on breast cancer. The HOG's study of a combination of multi-therapy regimens shows great promise toward the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in women who overexpress the Her-2 gene.
Hal Broxmeyer, Ph.D., scientific director of the Walther Oncology Center, announces that umbilical cord stem cells frozen for 15 years are as viable as those in fresh cord blood. The finding can greatly increase the supply of stem cells available as possible matches for use in bone marrow transplantations.
Walther behavioral scientists publish a book titled Evidence-Based Cancer Care and Prevention: Behavioral Interventions. It includes summaries of recent research on cancer-related behavioral interventions, discussions of the studies summarized and suggestions for future research.
Drs. Nakshatri and Sweeney at the IU Cancer Center have made substantial progress in the development of a novel drug that promotes cancer cell death and augments the efficacy of cancer therapies for breast and prostate cancer. The Seed funding from Walther Cancer Institute has allowed investigators to expand the findings to other diseases including lung and bladder cancer.
Walther Cancer Institute is merged into the Walther Cancer Foundation and becomes a private grant-making foundation. This merger significantly reduces administrative costs and increases operating efficiency.