$6.5 million gift to UCSF from Irwin and Joan Jacobs for head and neck cancer research

October 27, 2009

Philanthropists Irwin and Joan Jacobs of La Jolla, CA are giving a $6.5 million gift to UCSF for head and neck cancer research. It is believed to be the largest private, U.S. gift for research supporting this disease.

Irwin Jacobs is the founder, retired CEO, and current board member of telecommunications giant Qualcomm. He is also a survivor of a rare form of the cancer.

The gift will establish two distinguished professorships at UCSF for head and neck cancer research, one in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and one in the Department of Radiation Oncology: The gift was announced by UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, at a special celebration ceremony attended by the Jacobses and other special guests.

In 2007, Jacobs discovered, while showering in his La Jolla home, a bump at the back of his jaw near his left ear. Initially, he consulted a dentist, believing it was a dental problem. The bump was later diagnosed as an adenoid cystic carcinoma, a cancer that generally originates in the salivary glands and for Jacobs occurred in his parotid gland.

Within weeks of his diagnosis, Jacobs was under the care of Eisele, who removed the tumor with a parotidectomy, preserving Jacobs' facial nerve. Quivey oversaw Jacobs' postoperative radiation therapy.

Jacobs recounted that Quivey "warned me I'd probably lose all my hearing in the left ear, which I haven't.'' He added, "It did take away my sense of taste for a while. There was a time when the only thing that tasted good was vanilla ice cream.''

Head and neck cancers account for about three to five percent of all cancers in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute, with a small proportion of those cancers occurring in the salivary glands.

"It's an unusual tumor,'' said Eisele. "We don't understand very well why these tumors occur. We don't understand the variability from patient to patient. We're very interested in the molecular underpinnings and the behaviors of these tumors so we can come up with more effective therapeutic strategies. The Jacobs' generosity will help us hopefully make some creative discoveries."
-end-
In addition to their department positions, both Eisele and Quivey are affiliated with the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life science and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit www.ucsf.edu.

University of California - San Francisco

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.