Andrew and Mary Weinberg Foundation supports cancer immunotherapy research at UH Cancer Center

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, UH Foundation
Posted: Dec 2, 2015

Dr. Andrew Weinberg
Dr. Andrew Weinberg

The Andrew and Mary Weinberg Foundation has donated $150,000 to establish the Andrew and Mary Weinberg Cancer Immunotherapy Fund at the UH Cancer Center. The fund will support research-related activities in cancer immunotherapy, including the recruitment of a lead researcher in cancer immunotherapy, research supplies and equipment, expenditures related to meetings and conferences, travel expenses for speakers and recruits, and outreach and education activities.

“Cancer immunotherapies are among the most promising new therapies for treating cancer. We are very excited that this donation will help us develop cancer immunotheraphy research here at the Cancer Center to improve treatments for our diverse ethnic population here in Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Joe W. Ramos, PhD, professor and director of the Cancer Biology Program at the UH Cancer Center.

Dr. Andrew Weinberg earned his MS and PhD in Biochemistry at Washington State University in 1987. He moved to Portland, Oregon, in 1990 to work at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on an autoimmune model for multiple sclerosis (EAE) with Arthur Vandenbark, PhD, and Halina Offner, PhD.  During the course of the autoimmune work, Dr. Weinberg discovered that the TNF-receptor, OX40, was expressed on autoAg-specific T cells at the site of autoimmune inflammation and was, in part, responsible for their pathogenic properties.

Dr. Weinberg moved to the Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Oregon, in 1995 as an independent scientist to focus on tumor immunology. There he discovered that OX40 agonists were potent stimulators of tumor immunity in cancer-bearing hosts. In collaboration with Brendan Curti, MD, and Walter Urba, MD, at the Providence Cancer Center, a human OX40 agonist was tested in a phase I clinical trial. OX40 agonist is a new therapy that enhances white blood cells to help destroy tumors, and is potentially less toxic than other treatments for cancer patients.

“We hope this gift advances immunotherapy research at the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center with the hopes of further developing new drugs for cancer patients around the world. I would also like to encourage others to donate to fund immunotherapy research at the Cancer Center, which has the potential to save many lives,” said Dr. Weinberg.

The UH Cancer Center has many dedicated funds for specific cancer-related research projects, such as those focusing on liver, breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancers.

If you have a specific area of interest you would like to support, please contact Elaine Evans at or (808) 692-0991. You can also make a gift at
The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in Hawai‘i and the Pacific. Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education and improved patient care. Learn more at Like us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.

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