National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
February 24, 2009 • Volume 6 / Number 4

The information and links on this page are no longer being updated and are provided for reference purposes only.

Cancer Center Profile

Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center

Director: Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr. • 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA  02115
Phone: 617-632-2100 • Web site: http://www.dfhcc.harvard.edu

Background

Founded in 1997, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) is a cancer research consortium that integrates and builds upon the collective talent and resources of seven Harvard University-affiliated institutions. DF/HCC succeeds Dana-Farber Cancer Institute—one of the first Comprehensive Cancer Centers established in the early 1970s—as an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. The institutional members of DF/HCC are:

Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center comprises seven institutions throughout the greater Boston area (clockwise from top left): Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center comprises seven institutions throughout the greater Boston area (clockwise from top left): Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital Boston
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Massachusetts General Hospital

Member institutions combine their scientific strengths to accelerate research findings from the laboratory, clinical research trials, and studies of populations, enhancing patient care and our understanding of the underlying causes of cancer. DF/HCC members receive a total of $533 million for cancer research funding annually, of which $218 million is from NCI, making DF/HCC the leading recipient of NCI funding in the country.

Research

DF/HCC brings together more than 1,000 faculty members through multidisciplinary, inter-institutional programs that stimulate collaboration and discovery. The Center currently supports 17 established disease- and discipline-based research programs, as well as 10 developing programs. DF/HCC has also been awarded eight Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in the areas of breast, lung, kidney, ovarian, prostate, renal, gastrointestinal cancers, and myeloma.

Eighteen shared resources or core facilities provide specialized services that enable investigators to conduct innovative cancer research. Of note is the new Pathology Specimen Locator Core, which houses a groundbreaking Web-based network of searchable databases containing de-identified, coded, pathologic information on post-diagnostic, excess human samples that researchers may use in their studies.

DF/HCC also has one of the largest clinical research programs in the country, taking a unified approach to approving, activating, monitoring, and supporting the cancer-related clinical trials conducted at member institutions. Annually, the Center conducts 500 active therapeutic clinical trials, many at multiple DF/HCC sites. Half of these trials are initiated by their principal investigators.

Other Programs

A cornerstone of DF/HCC’s mission is the Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities (IECD), a strategic initiative to address inequalities in cancer across population groups. The IECD focuses on five areas: increasing research on cancer disparities, engaging diverse communities in improving cancer prevention and treatment, increasing the number of minorities in the biomedical workforce through training outreach programs, enhancing faculty diversity, and amplifying culturally sensitive care within DF/HCC member institutions.