Since its inception, the Ellis Fischel Gala has raised more than $3 million.

The August 18-19, 2023 Gala event proceeds will support research at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

In 1997, The Lodge of Four Seasons and University of Missouri Health Care entered into a partnership to advance the opportunities of cancer research and the programs of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. Through the support of Brown family and many volunteers, the Ellis Fischel Gala event has worked to meet the needs of this vision.

Since its beginning “ The Gala Summer Celebration” has helped fund:

  • A confocal microscope for constructing 3D cancer cell images.
  • A laser capture microscope for cancer research.
  • A cancer research area for Ellis Fischel housed within University Hospital.
  • The Ernest and Eugenia Wyatt Guest house, which provides patients and their families a “home away from home” during treatments.
  • A mobile screening van offering mammography and prostate screening throughout central Missouri.

Ellis Fischel Cancer Center
Diagnosing & Treating All Cancer Types

Ellis Fischel Cancer Center’s team of physician specialists and other trained professionals work together with a common goal: to provide the latest cancer treatments and improve quality of life for thousands of people each year. Named after Dr. Ellis Fischel, a physician who envisioned a statewide plan for controlling cancer, the hospital was dedicated on April 26, 1940, as the first cancer center west of the Mississippi River.

At Ellis Fischel Cancer Center we are dedicated to providing comprehensive cancer care, which means we diagnose and treat all types of cancers.


Ellis Fichel History Video Introduction

 Key Dates in the History of Ellis Fischel

1940: The Ellis Fischel Sate Cancer Hospital is dedicated. With approximately 85 beds, it becomes the first state cancer hospital west of the Mississippi River and the second in the nation, and it is named after Ellis Fischel, a surgeon who was devoted to the early detection and treatment of cancer. It contains one of the larges supplies in the Midwest of radium, a radioactive element used to treat cancer.

1947: Two Ellis Fischel physicians, Laurent Ackerman and Juan Del Regato, literally wrote the book on cancer care: “Ackerman and Del Regato’s Cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis.”

1950: Renilda Hilkemeyer was hired to establish a continuing education program for nurses at Ellis Fischel State Cancer Hospital. The success of the program drew the attention of MD Anderson Cancer Center’s director and Hilkemeyer was recruited to the Houston hospital, where she served as director of nursing from 1955 to 1978.

1957: A $100,000 cobalt therapy wing is added for radiation therapy. It includes a three-ton stationary cobalt machine and a smaller, rotating model.

1966: The University of Missouri nuclear reactor, the world’s most powerful university reactor, begins producing radioisotopes for research and clinical application.

1970s: Ellis Fischel researchers participate in the first clinical studies of Interferon, now a common chemotherapy drug.

1975: A three story, $7.6 million addition expands the cancer center’s outpatient clinic capability, laboratory space and adds a new operation room suite.

1982: Gov. Christopher S. Bond signs a bill the make Ellis Fischel the state cancer center. The name changes from Ellis Fischel State Cancer Hospital to Ellis Fischel State Cancer Center.

1990: Ellis Fischel and the University of Missouri merge to combine their strengths in cancer research and treatment.

1992: Researchers take a lead role in the first nationwide breast cancer prevention study of tamoxifen.

1997: MU’s reactor is awarded approval by the Food and drug administration (FDA) for its second radiopharmaceutical, Quadramet. The drug relieves pain of bone cancer in humans and animals. MU researchers joined forces to develop Quadramet, including researchers at MU’s Health Sciences Center, Department of Chemistry, College of Veterinary Medicine and the MU Research Reactor, working in tandem with researchers at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital.

1999: U. S. News and World Report ranks Ellis Fischel Cancer Center as one of the nation’s top 30 centers for cancer care.

2000: MU’s reactor makes headlines with its release of TheraSphere. The drug uses microscopic ceramic spheres to carry radiation of liver tumors.

2001: The Ernest and Eugenia Wyatt Guest Home opens providing lodging for patients and families who must travel long distances for their treatment.

2003: MU receives a $10 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to establish a premier center for the development of radiopharmaceuticals.

2004: Missouri designates Ellis Fischel Cancer Center as the state’s official cancer institute.

2008: Ellis Fischel begins treating certain tumors using stereotactic radiosurgery – a form of ultra-precise radiation therapy, using a new Trilogy Tx linear accelerator.

2010: Construction begins for a new $50 million home for Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. The facility is part of University’s Hospital new eight-story $190 million expansion.

2013: Ellis Fischel Cancer Center’s new home opens to patients. It includes an outpatient facility, encompassing 100,000 square feet on the first and second floors of University Hospital’s expansion, and a 30-bed inpatient unit on the top floor of the towers.

2014: Ellis Fischel Cancer Center becomes the first member of an academic medical center in the nation to become a member of MD Anderson Cancer Network, a program of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Susan Brown



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