Stacey and Don Kivowitz Charitable Foundation supports formation of Prostate Cancer Center

By Sharon Reynolds

Don and Stacey Kivowitz

Donald P. Kivowitz is keenly aware that prostate cancer is a common health problem. Fortunately he has never had the disease, but as Founder and Chairman of Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers Inc., he was often reminded of its prevalence and impact on the quality of life for men.

“Company employees took care of about 4,000 patients a day in my 33 skilled nursing facilities throughout Texas,” said Mr. Kivowitz. “Most of our patients were in the 60-85 year age range, and many of the men faced problems with their prostate, including prostate cancer.”

Mr. Kivowitz was grateful for the excellent medical care he personally received at UT Southwestern Medical Center from Dr. Claus Roehrborn, Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology, and Dr. Margaret Pearle, Professor of Urology and Internal Medicine. Hoping to reduce the impact of prostate cancer, Mr. Kivowitz and his wife Stacey made a gift of $500,000 through the Stacey and Donald Kivowitz Charitable Foundation to support the establishment of a new Prostate Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, said, “The generosity of people like Don and Stacey will propel the success of the new Prostate Cancer Center and will accelerate progress toward better treatment options and outcomes. All of us at the Medical Center are extremely grateful for their support of our efforts.”

Prostate cancer, the most common type of cancer in men, causes 26,000 deaths annually in the United States. Ways to diagnose and treat the disease are limited, especially for prostate cancers that resist therapy. More aggressive treatments like surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy can cause side effects that negatively affect a man’s quality of life.

When the disease is in its early stage and slow-growing, making a treatment decision is not easy. Men must choose between the anxiety of “active surveillance” – choosing no treatment and a “wait-and-see” monitoring of the cancer – or living with potential life-altering side effects of a more aggressive treatment. Either choice can lead to psychological distress and reduced quality of life. New, more effective treatments are critically needed.

The Prostate Cancer Center at UT Southwestern is poised to become an international leader in research and care for patients with prostate cancer or at risk for the disease. Addressing intervention, genetics, precision medicine, and therapeutics, the Center will unite scientists from multiple departments to research and develop basic science and translational studies of the causes, progression, treatment, and therapeutic resistance of prostate cancer.

Much of the future of cancer care hinges on the study of human genes. Of adult cancers, prostate cancer is the leading cancer influenced by genetics – 40 percent of patients inherit a form of DNA damage that increases their cancer risk. UT Southwestern has one of the nation’s leading clinical cancer genetic programs and is the only medical center in Dallas offering clinical services linked to a strong academic research program.

“Leading-edge technologies are rapidly advancing prostate care, so the timing of the Kivowitz gift couldn’t be better,” said Dr. Roehrborn. “Establishing the Prostate Cancer Center will open the door to new discoveries for treatment and will enable UT Southwestern to recruit the best and brightest talent to heal, innovate, and educate.”

Mr. and Mrs. Kivowitz hope their investment in the Prostate Cancer Center will reduce the number of prostate cancer diagnoses and, ultimately, lead to a cure.

“UT Southwestern and Dallas have evolved into one of the great care centers in the country,” said Mr. Kivowitz. “Dr. Roehrborn is considered one of the world’s authorities on prostate cancer and has built the program at UTSW to rival just about every other medical institution in America. Collectively, the city of Dallas and the state of Texas are extremely fortunate to have UT Southwestern building this program.”

Dr. Pearle holds the Dr. Ralph C. Smith Distinguished Chair in Urologic Education.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.

Dr. Roehrborn holds the S.T. Harris Family Chair in Medical Science, in Honor of John D. McConnell, M.D., and the E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Distinguished Chair in Urology.