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  • UH Cancer Center celebrates amazing support from FICOH

The First Insurance Company of Hawaii (FICOH) Charitable Foundation has donated $125,000 to support the UH Cancer Center’s new state-of-the-art Early Phase Clinical Research Center. This center will provide access to phase 1 clinical trials for cancer patients in Hawaiʻi so they do not have to travel to the continental U.S. for specialized treatments.

FICOH President and CEO Jeff Shonka said, “As a Hawai‘i company and employer, we feel it is imperative for us to invest in research that will have tangible benefits for our community. So many people in Hawai‘i are personally impacted by cancer each year. This is our way of helping find new lifesaving treatments and therapies for our families, neighbors and friends.”

In thanking FICOH for their generous support, Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center director said, “Phase 1 clinical trials represent the cutting edge of cancer treatments and are often considered when patients have a particularly challenging form of cancer or when standard treatments have been unsuccessful.” Holcombe continued, “In a state where approximately 7,100 people are diagnosed each year with cancer, the stakes are high, and we are so grateful to FICOH for their commitment to our center and the state.”

A clinical trial is a research study testing the safety and effectiveness of new treatments for cancer. Every cancer-fighting drug and therapy available to doctors today was tested in a clinical trial before it could be used routinely on patients. However, because the environments, ethnicities and cultures of Hawai‘i and the Pacific are unique, so are the needs of cancer patients in this region.

The Early Phase Clinical Research Center will complement drug discovery programs already in place within the Cancer Center focused on identifying unique-to-Hawai‘i compounds derived from natural products with anti-cancer activity. It represents an opportunity to translate basic laboratory discoveries into novel treatments for patients.

UH Foundation President and CEO Tim Dolan said, “The Early Phase Clinical Research Center will radically expand the clinical trials options for the people of Hawai‘i and improve our community’s quality of life as cancer patients and their families will have access to the care they need. We are grateful for FICOH’s philanthropic partnership and their support of this vibrant clinical research center.”

FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, The Campaign for the University of Hawaiʻi, is focused on raising $1 billion to support UH priorities on all 10 campuses across the state, including student success; research that matters; kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi; sustainability, resilience and conservation; innovation and entrepreneurship; building Hawaiʻi’s workforce; and engaging our community. Learn more at

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.

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The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center through its various activities, including scientific research and clinical trials, adds more than $54 million to the O‘ahu economy. It is one of only 71 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. A component of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the UH Cancer Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, patient care and community outreach with an emphasis on the unique ethnic, cultural and environmental characteristics of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. This year, the Cancer Center reflects on 50 years of progress. Learn more at Like it on Facebook at Follow it on Twitter at

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.