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Published on August 17, 2016

Gundersen receives $1.5 million for Cancer Research

Gundersen Medical Foundation is pleased to announce that Mrs. Betty Kabara has made an extraordinary gift of $1.5 million to the Kabara Cancer Research Institute. Established in 2008 with an initial $1 million endowment gift from Mrs. Kabara and her late husband, Dr. Jon Kabara, the Kabara Cancer Research Institute’s mission is to investigate and develop new therapeutic approaches for cancer.

This transformational gift will be used to restructure and dramatically expand the work performed in the Kabara Cancer Research Institute. Paraic Kenny, PhD, will become director of the Institute, while continuing his long-standing research on breast cancer with his team in the Kabara Cancer Research Laboratory. Dr. Kenny will hold the newly established Dr. Jon & Betty Kabara Endowed Chair in Precision Oncology. With support from this generous gift, he will continue to work toward the rapid implementation of new advances in cancer genome sequencing which will help our patients to access the newest personalized cancer treatments.

Grzegorz (Greg) Gurda, MD, PhD, a molecular pathologist recently recruited from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, will assume the directorship of the Gundersen Cancer Biobank within the Kabara Cancer Research Institute. This repository of cancer specimens collected over several decades from patients in the La Crosse region offers unique opportunities to study the tumors most relevant to our local population.

Sunny Guin, PhD, will establish an independent research laboratory within the Kabara Cancer Research Institute with a primary focus on lung, prostate, bladder and ovarian cancers.

Finally, this additional gift from Mrs. Kabara will support the recruitment of a new PhD research scientist to the Kabara Cancer Research Laboratory which will greatly extend the scope of current research.

"Drs. Guin, Gurda and I look forward to taking our cancer research to the next level with the support of this tremendous gift. The generosity and vision of Mrs. Kabara will help us achieve the critical mass and momentum necessary to move our work from the bench to the bedside," states Dr. Kenny.

"The extraordinary philanthropy from Mrs. Kabara, a native of Galena, Ill., provides a great opportunity for Gundersen to make a transformational impact in basic cancer research. Through such contributions, the care of our patients and community are improved. We are honored and fortunate to have benefactors like Mrs. Kabara who believe in our mission and want to advance cancer research," states Sigurd B. Gundersen III, MD, chairman of Gundersen Medical Foundation.

The Kabara Cancer Research Institute is located in the Health Science Center on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Campus.

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