AMC Cancer Research Center (AMC) History
Since 1904 the organization now known as AMC Cancer Research Center has dedicated itself to the relief of human suffering and the treatment of major diseases. Although we are located in Denver, Colorado, AMC has a long tradition of service to the entire U.S. The organization was originally founded as the JCRS (Jewish Consumptives Relief Society), a charitable hospital and research center that treated patients with tuberculosis (TB). Patients came from all over the country, because in those days it was believed that the dry, thin air of the Rocky Mountains was beneficial for the treatment of TB. In the 1950s, when TB was finally brought under control, JCRS changed its name to the American Medical Center and turned its considerable resources to the treatment and research of cancer. In all of its history, not one patient was ever charged for their stay or medical treatment - rather all of the expenses were covered by the extensive network of supporters from all over the country.

The founder, Dr. Charles Spivak, was a medical doctor who was touched by the plight of the unfortunate sick who were arriving in Denver in droves, too poor to pay for admittance to any of the existing sanatoriums.

In the beginning, patients were housed in individual "tents" or small cottages since TB was a highly contagious disease. But JCRS rapidly expanded and became its own city. Established essentials on the campus included a dining hall, farming and dairy herds, a laundry, a pharmacy, treatment rooms, two operating rooms, labs and a dental office. Two large hospital buildings were erected, one for women and one for men. An extensive 9,000 volume library, regular cultural events, production of a literary magazine and the Spivak, Colorado Post Office were added. The buildings which made up this "city" now house the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.

As Dr. Spivak, who was a scientist as well as a doctor, treated the sick, he became convinced that this horrible disease could be and would be eradicated. Dr. Spivak passed away in 1927, but his legacy remains. In the 1950s, his vision of a world no longer under the scourge of the "white plague" came true, and the institution reincorporated as the American Medical Center and entered into a new battle - the eradication of cancer, an insidious and devastating disease about which little was known. Thus, AMC became one of the first dedicated cancer institutions in the nation.

In 1989, AMC began focusing entirely on research and ways to control cancer, to help patients live longer and, most importantly, to prevent cancer before it ever starts.

For additional information about the archives of JCRS/AMC, contact Jeanne Abrams, Ph.D. at

Dr. Abrams is Director of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, at the University of Denver.

AMC wishes to acknowledge the National Volunteer Organization (NVO), our nationwide network of volunteers. Throughout AMC's long and distinguished history, the NVO's fundraising efforts in their local communities have provided much needed support. Thank you!

The spirit of commitment and excellence that guides AMC today had its origins in those early years of historic and medical frontiers. The AMC Cancer Research Center is now a national, independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation raising funds for cancer treatment, research, patient education and outreach in the Rocky Mountain Region through the University of Colorado Cancer Center.