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A Personal Investment

Conquest - Spring 2008

By DeDe DeStefano

Dedicated, generous, hardworking and passionate, David H. Koch embodies success not only by being one of the principal owners of Koch Industries, Inc., the world’s largest privately held company, but also by the impact he’s making on mankind.

David H. Koch’s $18 million gift will help support basic and translational research in the study and treatment of genitourinary cancers.

Through a combination of inspiration and compassion, Koch is touching thousands of lives with the more than $500 million in philanthropic gifts he’s made to a variety of organizations and programs that further cancer research, enhance medical centers and support educational institutions, as well as to programs that sustain arts and cultural institutions.

Most recently, he’s given $18 million to M. D. Anderson to create the David Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancers.

Under the direction of Koch’s oncologist, Christopher Logothetis, M.D., chair of the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, the Koch Center will bring together basic, translational and clinical scientists to rapidly move scientific findings to patients with diseases such as prostate cancer, which Koch has battled for many years.

“The idea behind the Koch Center is to create a unique infrastructure that enables us to take abundant discovery and move it more efficiently and more reliably into human studies,” Logothetis says. “The Koch Center will create a shared environment where researchers in basic science, applied science and all the fields with which we interact can obtain and analyze data the same way, use the same scientific language, establish strict project management deadlines and stay goal-oriented.”

This approach also allows the Koch Center to create a “memory.”

“Each time we do a study in humans or in animals, it will be recorded in such a way that allows us to retrieve the data to see how it relates to the next study,” Logothetis explains.

During a follow-up appointment, David Kirkman got a chance to catch up with Christopher Logothetis, M.D., and learn about the creation and naming of the David Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancers, which Logothetis directs.

Should a scientist leave the institution, Logothetis notes, his or her work will be preserved so that it remains available to investigators worldwide.

Koch attributes his passion for supporting prostate cancer research to his own experience with the disease.

“I’ve been living with prostate cancer for 15 years and have been under the care of Dr. Logothetis,” Koch says. “I’m a survivor, and I have tremendous sympathy for others who have this disease. When you’re up close and personal with prostate cancer, you become a crusader. My wife and I have three young children, and I have great aspirations to live long enough to see all of them graduate from college. My children are tremendous incentives.”

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in American men, other than skin cancer. It’s second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in men.

“We’re humbled by the trust that our patients, such as David Koch, place in us for their care and by their gifts to the institution, and we feel especially compelled to deliver results,” Logothetis says. “They drive us and give us a sense of responsibility just as much as a peer-reviewed grant.”

Koch has supported M. D. Anderson for many years, having served on its Board of Visitors since 1999. He and his wife, Julia, also have given financially to the institution for more than a decade. In addition, they support the cancer center by opening their home to guests who are interested in hearing about M. D. Anderson. In 2007 and 2008, the Kochs hosted educational dinners designed to raise awareness of the research, patient care, education and prevention programs ongoing at M. D. Anderson.

Koch Industries, Inc. owns a diverse group of companies with about $90 billion in revenues, 80,000 employees and a presence in nearly 60 countries. Familiar Koch company brands include STAINMASTER® carpet, LYCRA® spandex, Quilted Northern® tissue and Dixie® cups.

“I feel extraordinarily blessed to be one of the principal owners of Koch Industries,” Koch says. “The outstanding growth of my family company has been largely due to the heroic efforts of our executives and employees and has enabled me to be very generous to many worthwhile institutions.”

In 2004, Koch received a presidential appointment to the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute. He serves on more than 20 nonprofit boards.

Conquest - Spring 2008

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© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center