The Robert Tucker Hayes Foundation has donated $1 million to support leading-edge cancer research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio). The gift established the Robert Tucker Hayes Distinguished Chair in Oncology. Tyler J. Curiel, M.D., one of the nation’s leading cancer researchers, was named the holder of the distinguished chair.
“Bob and Patty’s gift played a critical role in helping recruit Dr. Curiel to San Antonio,” said Health Science Center President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “Dr. Curiel brings expertise and leadership that will enable our university to further strengthen our clinical practice and enhance existing cancer programs. Bob and Patty Hayes are making vital advancements in cancer research and care possible in San Antonio,” he said.
Dr. Curiel recently joined the faculty of the School of Medicine and also serves as director of the San Antonio Cancer Institute and assistant dean of oncology. The San Antonio Cancer Institute is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center, one of only two NCI centers in Texas to hold this prestigious national distinction. The San Antonio Cancer Institute is a joint program led by the Health Science Center and the Cancer Therapy & Research Center. The other Texas NCI-designated cancer center is The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Dr. Curiel earned his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine and his M.P.H. from Harvard University. His research team is fundamentally altering how researchers undertake immune-based treatments for cancer with early encouraging results from clinical trials. Findings from his cancer research were recently published in three separate issues of the prestigious journal Nature Medicine. “We think we have a good idea that could make a real difference to patients with cancer. The gift from Mr. and Mrs. Hayes will be an important contribution to our efforts at a critical time in our research,” Dr. Curiel said.
Mr. Hayes is a graduate of Harvard College, and the former chairman of Hayes Leasing Company, which held Avis franchises in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio. The franchise grew to become the largest Avis franchise in the nation when Mr. Hayes sold it in 1998. The Robert Tucker Hayes Foundation supports numerous charitable organizations nationwide, with an emphasis on medical research, including endowments at UT Southwestern for centers in behavioral brain science and mineral metabolism research, and chairs in nephrology and cardiothoracic surgery.
“Patty and I are pleased to support the Health Science Center. The university is a valuable asset to the future of health for this community, and we wanted to make an investment that would help enhance its impact,” Mr. Hayes said. “We believe Dr. Curiel will put our money to work in a way that really advances cancer research,” he said.
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $536 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14.3 billion biosciences and health care industry, the leading sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.