Family donates $10 million for cancer research at SMHS

A $10 million donation will expand cancer research, care and education at the GW Medical Center, University officials announced Wednesday.

The contribution from Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen is the largest individual gift in the history of the University and its medical center.

“This is an extraordinary gift from Dr. and Mrs. Katzen which we hope will address an extraordinary problem in D.C.,” said James Scott, dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “We hope there will be wonderful things to report on in the future as a result.”

A board of directors for the newly established Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen Cancer Research Center will determine the future of the donation. The board will include three members of the Medical Faculty Associates, three representatives from the GW Medical School and three members of the Katzen family, Chairman Robert Siegel said.

“We’re going to be working with the medical school to develop an expanded cancer program that we can really be proud of,” said Siegel, who is the director of the Hematology and Oncology Division. “This is the kind of unrestricted donation that we can use to really grow.”

Siegel said he hopes the Katzens’ gift can establish a structure for research that will attract further contributions, expand basic science programs, improve clinical trials and promote basic cancer research.

The Katzen family has had a long relationship with GW and its medical program, which helped make the donation a reality, said cardiology professor Jonathan Reiner, who has been a friend of the Katzen family for 35 years.

“Dr. Katzen has spent his whole life giving back to the community,” Reiner said. “He’s made it his business to give back. Cyrus and Myrtle have been very fortunate in their lives and they take that very seriously.”

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