UC San Diego News Center


May 13 SPARK Gala Ignites New Discoveries in the Fight Against Cancer

36th annual gala to support Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health will honor the life and legacy of the late San Diego philanthropist Pauline Foster

Iris and Matthew Strauss

Iris and Matthew Strauss are co-chairing the 2017 SPARK Gala.

The SPARK Gala, an annual UC San Diego Health highlight, returns Saturday, May 13 to celebrate recent advances in the fight against cancer and spur on new discoveries. Proceeds from the event will benefit research and patient care at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, including the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. Hosted at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, the evening will include a cocktail reception, dinner and dancing and is open to the public.

“At UC San Diego, we are committed to advancing the frontiers of knowledge and disseminating discoveries so we can improve and save lives,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Thanks to private support, we are developing promising new therapies with the potential to revolutionize how we treat cancer, and we are transforming cancer care for our region and our world.”

Just as no two people are alike, no two cancers are alike. The Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy uses advanced molecular technologies to match patients with targeted cancer treatments in order to optimize response to treatment and minimize serious side effects. The approach calls for identification of mutations or other tumor-specific abnormalities in the patient’s genetic profile, then matches patients with a therapy tailored for that individual and type of cancer.

“The days of treating cancer as a single disease with a single researcher are fast disappearing,” said Scott M. Lippman, MD, director of Moores Cancer Center, senior associate dean and associate vice chancellor for Cancer Research and Care and Chugai Pharmaceutical Chair in Cancer. “Today, we collaborate with teams of scientists, surgeons, radiotherapists, medical oncologists, geneticists, pathologists and others to treat each patient individually, based upon the individual’s cancer type and unique molecular and cellular abnormalities to give them the best chance at recovery.”

The 2017 SPARK Gala will honor the life and legacy of the late San Diego philanthropist Pauline Foster. Foster was a longtime supporter of UC San Diego and made a significant impact on the campus, including UC San Diego Health. In 2014, she made a $7.5 million gift to establish the Pauline and Stanley Foster Pavilion for Cancer Care at Jacobs Medical Center, with the goal of ensuring fellow San Diegans received exceptional cancer care. The pavilion has nearly doubled UC San Diego Health’s ability to provide inpatient care to cancer patients from all over the region.

“Pauline Foster was an extraordinary woman. Her graceful compassion continues to be an inspiration to us all, and a reminder of what is possible,” said event chairs Iris and Matthew Strauss. “This year’s SPARK Gala is an opportunity for us to honor her impact as a leader and a friend, and to contribute to the revolutionary personalized medicine that she believed would change the face of cancer care. Together, as a community, we can build a future that is based on new cures and new hope for everyone battling cancer.”

Moores Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the region, and one of just 47 such centers in the United States. In addition, U.S. News and World Report ranks UC San Diego’s cancer services among the top 50 in the nation.

The SPARK Gala will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and dancing. Individual tickets are $1,000 and sponsorships are available. Funds raised contribute to the Campaign for UC San Diego. For details and reservations, visit the SPARK Gala website or call 858-534-4289.

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