Marshfield Clinic cancer researcher and clinician Dr. Douglas Reding was named the first holder of the Tom and Sally Ebenreiter Distinguished Physician/Scientist Endowment in Oncology Research during a recent cancer research forum in Marshfield.
Reding said the endowment will support a study that involves evaluating environmental exposure and risks of developing lymphoma with genetic variation.
A former Clinic vice president, Reding also is a past recipient of the Gwen D. Sebold Award, which recognizes outstanding medical researchers.
"Research is a dreadful, wonderful and exciting occupation," said Reding, making light of the challenges involved. "I didn't want to be a lab scientist. Doing clinical research at Marshfield Clinic was a great fit for me."
Sally Ebenreiter and her late husband, Tom, gave the lead gift to establish the endowment. Their gift, along with many others, helped the endowment reach the $1 million threshold to name the endowment's first holder.
The Ebenreiters, who first were treated at Marshfield Clinic more than 30 years ago, are long-time supporters of the Clinic and made previous donations to support cancer research at Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.
Dr. William Hocking, a retired Clinic oncologist, moderated the forum that highlighted cancer research at the Clinic. Sally Ebenreiter attended the forum with one of her three daughters, Sue, and long-time family friend, Richard Pamperin.
Hocking spoke about the landscape of cancer research, the impact it has had and progress made in many areas of cancer. Federal funding has shrunk in recent years and researchers face a difficult task obtaining limited funds.
"Philanthropy for research is even more important than ever," Hocking said. "That's why we all want to thank the Ebenreiter family for what you have done to support cancer research at Marshfield Clinic."
Fifty years ago, a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence. Advances in detection, diagnosis, medicine and biotechnology have made cancer survivable, all because of research.
"It's amazing what they've accomplished here," Ebenreiter said. "(Tom) would have been impressed to hear this today."
Reding, who was Tom Ebenreiter's doctor, has a long history of cancer research at the Clinic. One of his most notable achievements was his work in the national Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). The study helped establish national screening guidelines for prostate, colon, lung and ovarian cancer.
"We had 17,000 patients for the PLCO study and we recruited those individuals from one million letters we sent throughout Wisconsin," said Reding, who discussed the importance of cancer screening at the forum. "When National Cancer Institute officials came to Marshfield for site visits, they marveled at the coordinators' teamwork and how we could recruit people to come to a community of 20,000 people, compared to cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Denver, to support this trial."
The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education in more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.