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GW Cancer Institute and Banca Civica Become Community Partners to Help Fight Cancer

WASHINGTON – The GW Cancer Institute (GWCI) at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences has joined forces with Banca Civica, a financial institution from Spain pioneering the innovative concept of civic banking, to fight cancer in Washington, D.C.

Civic banking is a unique and revolutionary model based in transparency and participation. The bank discloses to each customer the earnings that the bank has made with their individual businesses; and the bank empowers customers to allocate up to 30 percent of its profits into their charities of choice (non-profits, community-based organizations, etcetera). Last year, the customers of Banca Civica allocated $60 million to more than 6,000 social projects in 78 countries. The bank also plays an important role connecting citizens and the non-profit sector by opening ways for its customers to volunteer with the charities they are supporting through civic banking.

GWCI, a comprehensive cancer center in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to advancing multi- and trans-disciplinary cancer research, expanding effective cancer outreach and education, and offering the highest quality of high-technology, compassionate cancer care. 

GWCI coordinates and integrates the broad array of resources across the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences and University to provide for groundbreaking research and collaboration in the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, a disease that affects everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, class or culture. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of more than 1,500 Americans each day. 

Central to the mission of the GWCI is engaging the local, national and international challenge of the unequal burden of cancer among different racial and ethnic populations, and eliminating cancer health disparities in Washington D.C. and the world. Through GWCI’s partnership with Banca Civica, the bank’s customers can donate profits to GWCI, where funds will be used to support this important cancer genomics research. Racial and ethnic background of a patient plays an important role in their susceptibility to certain cancer, affecting the rate of development of cancer as well as how quickly and aggressively cancer might grow and spread. Using novel genomic technologies to study patterns of gene expression that are in different in cancers of people with differing racial or ethnic origin, GWCI researchers are finding new molecular targets for cancer treatment and prevention.

“We are honored to be partnering with Banca Civica to continue our quest to defeat cancer through genomic research,” said Steven Patierno, Ph.D., executive director of GWCI. “With the support of Banca Civica we will continue to unravel the molecular mysteries of why certain ethnic populations are more susceptible to certain kinds of cancer. With this knowledge we will be able to design high-precision treatments of personalized cancer medicine and improve cancer prevention.”  

Iñigo Jodra, Banca Civica’s president of U.S. operations, highlights “the importance of this agreement between two entities that are at the vanguard in their own fields. Also, Banca Civica has noticed in the last years the increasing interest from our customers in supporting medical research. So the project presented by GWCI brings to the table an interesting option for those civic customers who are appealed by this field”.

Banca Civica has 1.8 million customers and $60 billion in assets. The bank’s goal is to implement its civic banking business model in the United States.  The United States is a natural market for Banca Civica due to the high-degree of philanthropic commitment in the U.S. society and the deeply-rooted culture of helping out communities, through funds and volunteering.  Banca Civica aims to start banking operations in the U.S.A. in the first quarter of 2011, subject to regulatory approval. For more information about Banca Civica, please visit

About GWCI

The GW School of Medicine & Health Science’s Cancer Institute (GWCI) takes a comprehensive approach to a complex disease. In connection with the GW Hospital and the GW Medical Faculty Associates, the Institute provides for collaboration in the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. GWCI’s mission is to provide a confluence of groundbreaking biomedical and clinical research, high quality educational programs, and outstanding patient care to the entire Metropolitan Washington area, and effective outreach for the community. Many programs focus on studying cancers, such as breast, lung, prostate and gastrointestinal / colorectal cancer, that disproportionately affects minority and vulnerable populations. For more information, visit

About The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences

The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary academic health center that has consistently provided high-quality medical care in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1824.