U-M regent Ron Weiser donates $30M to establish prostate cancer center at Michigan Medicine

Center to be named after regent

University of Michigan Regent Ronald Weiser. (University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser has gifted Michigan Medicine $30 million to establish a new prostate cancer center in his name.

According to a news release, the Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer will aim to innovate treatments and improve patient experience by investing in technologies, staff, infrastructure, education and research into the disease.

“The goal is to make this center the easiest and best place to be treated for prostate cancer in the country, if not the world,” Ganesh Palapattu, chair of the Department of Urology at Michigan Medicine, said in a statement.

The new center will utilize the U-M Rogel Cancer Center’s established resources, which include a renowned prostate cancer program and cutting edge radiation oncology, urology and radiology programs as well as state-of-the-art technology and a well-rounded prostate cancer research program.

“We have more than a critical mass of clinician experts, investigators, educators and thought leaders in the field,” Palapattu said in a statement. “This center is going to be the mortar that keeps all those bricks together.”

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The Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer will exist within the Rogel Cancer Center as a clinically focused unit drawing expertise from Rogel’s radiation oncology, urology and radiology departments.

“We already have a very strong program, but the new center should allow us to take our collaborative clinical care to the next level,” Theodore S. Lawrence, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, said in a release. “The ability to combine drugs and radiation and surgery will be facilitated by being together in one place to deliver better care.”

The gift will fund materials and specialized equipment to help advance the center’s mission of diagnosing and treating patients with precision medicine. The gift will also fund the recruitment of new faculty and trainees.

“The continuing generosity of Ron Weiser will help our prostate cancer program reach even more people in need and ensure they receive not only the most evidence-based care but also the most coordinated, collaborative, compassionate care,” Marschall Runge, executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the U-M Medical School and CEO of Michigan Medicine said in a statement.

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A top donor of the university, Weiser was diagnosed with prostate cancer -- the nation’s second-deadliest cancer among men -- in 2019.

“I’m grateful for the excellent care at U-M that has helped me fight the cancer that invaded my body,” Weiser said in a statement. “But going through this has made me realize more could be done to support so many other men and their families who face this terrible disease, too.”

“Regent Weiser’s generous gift to Michigan Medicine will enhance our research, education and patient care while providing new levels of hope to the hundreds of thousands of patients around the globe who are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year,” U-M President Mark Schlissel said in a statement. “The Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer will unite the life-saving work of researchers and clinicians in multiple disciplines and further U-M’s commitment to excellence in health care.”

Weiser will work on fundraising efforts with Michigan Medicine as the new center takes shape.

To date, the Weiser family has donated more than $150 million to U-M, helping advance the university’s treatments of various diseases, including the establishment of the Elizabeth Weiser Caswell Diabetes Institute, the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center and the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center. Other centers he’s helped establish include the Weiser Diplomacy Center, the Weiser Center for Real Estate, the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.