University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser has committed $30 million to Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor to establish the Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer, with the goal to elevate and optimize the health care experience for patients with prostate cancer and their families.
The center will draw on the current resources of the U-M Rogel Cancer Center’s prostate cancer program, including state-of-the art urology, radiation oncology and radiology programs; multidisciplinary prostate cancer clinics; cutting-edge technology; highly sought-after training opportunities and a robust research program that seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship of prostate cancer.
The Weiser Center will be a clinically focused entity within the Rogel Cancer Center that combines expertise from four departments — Urology, Radiation Oncology, and Radiology — with representatives from each discipline collaborating and serving in leadership roles.
“The goal is to make this center the easiest and best place to be treated for prostate cancer in the country, if not the world,” says Dr. Ganesh Palapattu, professor of urology and the chair of the Department of Urology at Michigan Medicine. “We have more than a critical mass of clinician experts, investigators, educators, and thought leaders in the field. This center is going to be the mortar that keeps all those bricks together.”
A portion of the gift will be used to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, including those who are underrepresented in the field of prostate cancer, to serve as trainees and faculty in the center. The gift also will fund advanced equipment and materials that will further the center’s approach of using precision medicine to diagnose and treat patients.
“We already have a very strong program, but the new center should allow us to take our collaborative clinical care to the next level,” says Dr. Theodore S. Lawrence, professor of radiation oncology and the chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. “The ability to combine drugs and radiation and surgery will be facilitated by being together in one place to deliver better care.”
Weiser, one of the university’s top donors, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019, and the experience caused him to reflect on how he could help combat the country’s second-leading cause of cancer-related death among men.
“I’m grateful for the excellent care at U-M that has helped me fight the cancer that invaded my body,” says Weiser. “But going through this has made me realize more could be done to support so many other men and their families who face this terrible disease, too.”
Weiser says he will work with Michigan Medicine on fundraising efforts for the new center and encourages others to join him in supporting this transformational initiative.
“Regent Weiser’s generous gift to Michigan Medicine will enhance our research, education and patient care while providing new levels of hope to the hundreds of thousands of patients around the globe who are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year,” says U-M President Dr. Mark Schlissel. “The Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer will unite the life-saving work of researchers and clinicians in multiple disciplines and further U-M’s commitment to excellence in health care.”