Providence Cancer Center celebrates 20 years of research

June 15, 2013
Twenty years ago this summer, Providence Health & Services made the decision to begin researching cures for cancer.

In June 1993, Providence leaders sought out Walter J. Urba, M.D., Ph.D., then an immunologist and oncologist with a growing reputation at the National Cancer Institute. He joined Providence with a single focus: immunotherapy, which involves helping the body identify and kill cancer without harming healthy organs and tissues.

“We think we will be able to train the immune system to recognize those abnormalities, develop an immune response so if those cancer cells do pop up, the immune system will be waiting to get rid of them,” says Dr. Urba, director, Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center in the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center.

In the two decades he’s led cancer research at Providence, Dr. Urba’s team has published significant clinical trial results, formed two spin-off bio-tech companies, and served 7,000 patients, who volunteer for clinical trials, with ground-breaking cancer drugs.

View 20th anniversary video