Profiles of Support: Carl Kawaja and Wendy Holcombe

Submitted by UCSF Urology on June 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm
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As an expert in capital markets, Carl Kawaja knows a good investment when he sees one. The opportunity to accelerate the next generation of advances in men’s health inspired him to make a recent $250,000 gift to the UCSF Department of Urology.

In his job as senior vice president, portfolio manager and director of Capital Research and Management Company, Kawaja studies companies around the world. After surgery three years ago for testicular cancer, he concluded that the best place to receive his follow-up care was near home in the offices of Urology Department Chair Peter Carroll, MD, MPH.

“Peter has a reputation as the best in the business when it comes to urological cancers,” said Kawaja, who is 49.

“He is a leader in his field, but he makes time for people and is always very responsive to any questions I might have about tests or my care,” said Kawaja.

There are good treatments for testicular cancer—like Kawaja, most men respond well to surgery and chemotherapy, which have been shown to be the therapies of choice.  In talking with Dr. Carroll, however, Kawaja learned that treatment of other urological cancers is not so straightforward.

“My business includes biotech investments, and I know that genomic-based medicine approaches are the future,” said Kawaja. Based on his conversations with Dr. Carroll, Kawaja and his wife, radio producer Wendy Holcombe, made a generous $250,000 gift to advance genomic-based approaches to diagnosing and treating prostate cancer.  It is the most recent of several gifts that Kawaja and other members of his family have made in support of a variety of programs at UCSF and other health care institutions.

Holcombe echoes the couple’s enthusiasm for UCSF.  “I like supporting a local world-class medical research facility that’s in our backyard. We have benefitted from UCSF and so have many of our family and friends,” she said.

Carl Kawaja and Wendy HolcombeWendy Holcombe and Carl Kawaja