News

Jan 6, 2011

Rolla hospital’s cancer institute named for ceramist Delbert Day

Nice honors for a good guy! The Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Mo., announced yesterday that it is naming its new cancer facility the Delbert Day Cancer Institute.

It helps to know that Rolla is the home of Missouri University of Science and Technology, which historically has been a hotbed of glass and ceramic research, and the place where Del Day serves as Curators’ Professor Emeritus of ceramic engineering. The DDCI is being funded through a generous gift from Day’s son and daughter-in-law, Ted and Kim Day.

Delbert Day is known worldwide in the medical field for several glass and ceramic medical applications he helped developed. The most famous of these is his co-invention of TheraSphere and RadSphere glass beads, which are microspheres that are used to accurately deliver tiny amounts of radiation to treat cancer tumors. From what I recall, these beads are especially effective in treating cancerous tumors in the liver, including inoperable tumors, and are used at over 100 medical centers.

The beads are bioinert and are eventually decomposed and absorbed by the body. The effectiveness of the TheraSphere/RadSphere products helped open a new medical field: selective internal radiation therapy. Del Day founded and for many years led a company, Mo-Sci Corp., that manufactures the beads as well as other specialty precision glass products aimed at transportation, electronics and sporting goods markets. Ted Day is now president of Mo-Sci.

The senior Day has been a professor at Missouri S&T for nearly five decades. He is still active in research and developing new applications while working as senior investigator at the school’s Graduate Center for Materials Research. He is also a Distinguished Life Member and Fellow of ACerS. A statement from the hospital notes that the DDCI will enable the medical center to create the infrastructure needed to participate in the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Program. The hospital didn’t reveal the amount of Ted and Kim Day’s donation, but in a story on the OzarksFirst.com website, a hospital says its the biggest donation in the facility’s history.