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U.S. Cancer Centers

Noncommercial clinical trials may be sponsored by NCI-designated Cancer Centers and other U.S. research institutions. These may be funded by grants or contracts from NCI, other U.S. federal agencies, nonprofit foundations, and charities. In general, sites and investigators outside the U.S. can collaborate in such noncommercial clinical trials as long as all the regulatory requirements for the U.S. and non-U.S. countries are met.

What is an NCI-designated Cancer Center?
NCI-designated Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific excellence. They are a major source of discovery and development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. They also deliver medical advances to patients and their families, educate health care professionals and the public, and reach out to underserved populations. An NCI-designated Cancer Center may be a freestanding organization, a center within an academic institution, or part of a consortium of institutions. More…

What does an NCI-designation include?
NCI designation is voluntary and is awarded via a grant using a peer-review process. All NCI-designated Cancer Centers receive substantial financial support from NCI grants and are re-evaluated each time their support grant comes up for renewal (generally every 3 to 5 years).

What types of NCI-designations are there?
NCI recognizes two types of centers—Cancer Centers and Comprehensive Cancer Centers—based on the type of grant received. There are a total of 66 NCI-designated Cancer Centers; 59 of the centers provide care to patients. Seven Cancer Centers conduct only laboratory research and do not provide patient care.

All NCI-designated Cancer Centers have scientific agendas that are primarily focused on laboratory, population science, or clinical research, or some combination of these three components. A Comprehensive Cancer Center has demonstrated reasonable depth and breadth of research activities in each of three major areas: laboratory, clinical, and population-based research, with substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas. An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center must also demonstrate professional and public education and dissemination of clinical and public health advances into the community it serves. . There is no difference in the quality of patient care provided by Cancer Centers and Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

A list of Cancer Centers can be found on NCI’s Cancer Centers Program page.