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Stiefels pledge $10 million to head and neck cancer program

MD Anderson to name the Charles and Daneen Stiefel Center for Head and Neck Cancer

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MD Anderson to name the Charles and Daneen Stiefel Center for Head and Neck Cancer

 Charles and Daneen Stiefel.
Photo courtesy of Charles Stiefel

By Sarah Watson

Charles and Daneen Stiefel, of Raleigh, N.C., have pledged $10 million to the Head and Neck Cancer Center at MD Anderson. In honor of their generosity, the institution will name the Charles and Daneen Stiefel Center for Head and Neck Cancer.

Charles Stiefel, former chair and CEO of Stiefel Laboratories, is a member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors and is active on a key committee that advises the institution on clinical business issues. The couple established the Charles and Daneen Stiefel Chair in Cancer Research in 2009 with a $1 million gift in gratitude for the care Charles received as an MD Anderson patient.

Stiefel, now cancer-free, credits his care team, Merrill S. Kies, M.D., professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology; David I. Rosenthal, M.D., professor of Radiation Oncology; and Randal S. Weber, M.D., chair of Head and Neck Surgery, with saving his life.

“In early January 2007, Daneen and I visited four top cancer centers, and we chose MD Anderson as the place that would give me the highest chance of survival,” says Charles. “The physical facilities were pristine and welcoming, but, more important, all of my doctors were highly respected global thought leaders in their areas of oncology. If not for them, I’m certain I wouldn’t be alive today. Daneen and I feel humbled and thankful to be able to make this gift. Dr. Weber has conceived several game-changing ideas to improve patient outcomes for future generations, and I’m confident that this gift will help transform these ideas into reality.”

The gift will support research and treatment programs under Weber’s direction. The Stiefels’ support, says Weber, will help speed efforts to promote and rapidly translate oropharyngeal cancer research into more effective treatments with fewer side effects.

“Philanthropic support is crucial to our comprehensive research and treatment program,” says Weber. “Thanks to the Stiefels, we’ll intensify our efforts to halt this disease, control its progression and reverse its malignant course.”

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© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center