JANUARY 5, 1999


FORT WORTH, Texas ––– Cancer, especially the ways and means by which it spreads in the human body, has become the newest formal research focus at the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

Formation of an Institute for Cancer Research was announced this week (January 4) by Dr. David M. Richards, health science center president.

Cancer becomes the fifth biomedical research priority at the institution, where aging, heart disease, harmful substances and human vision are now under study in what the health science center calls its Institutes for Discovery.

"The common thread binding all these research initiatives together is the process of aging, a matter of mounting urgency in Texas, the United States, and throughout the world. As life expectancies expand, so do health conditions that deprive so many of quality of life. Cancer is very much among them," noted Richards.

Director of the new cancer institute will be Dr. Ronald H. Goldfarb, a noted cancer researcher and chair of the health science center’s department of molecular biology and immunology. He joined the Fort Worth academic center in 1997 after six years as deputy director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Research Institute, one of the nation’s Comprehensive Cancer Centers as designated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Goldfarb is also a former manager of cancer research and anti–cancer drug development for Pfizer, Inc., and a former staff fellow of the National Cancer Institute of the NIH.

"We are dealing initially with one of the most dreaded aspects of malignancies: metastasis," said Goldfarb. "This is the complicated means by which highly aggressive tumor cells arm themselves and migrate from a primary site to distant sites in the body, where they are much more difficult to treat," he explained. "Our work in Fort Worth could make a real difference in an enormous number of lives by learning how to unravel the mysteries of metastasis and devising strategies to prevent and treat it."

Goldfarb is a member of the board of directors of the American Cancer Society, Texas Division, Fort Worth unit, and he also serves on the Peer Review Committee on Institutional Research Grants of the American Cancer Society’s national office.

Bank One of Fort Worth granted $100,000 to seed Dr. Goldfarb’s initial work at the UNT Health Science Center. To operate, the institute will rely on similar corporate support as well as on donations, foundation grants, pharmaceutical company investments and federal and state support.

When fully operational the UNT Health Science Center’s Cancer Research Institute will identify additional areas of cancer research, serve to translate laboratory findings into clinical studies among patients, and contribute to new approaches for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Institutes for Discovery at Fort Worth’s health science center are under the overall direction of Dr. Robert W. Gracy, dean for research and biotechnology. The institution’s Cultural District campus also houses the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Physicians & Surgeons Medical Group, Tarrant County’s largest multispecialty group practice.