NCI-Designated Cancer Centers
The NCI Cancer Centers Program is one of the anchors of the nation’s cancer research effort. There are currently 68 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, located in 35 states and the District of Columbia, that form the backbone of NCI’s programs for studying and controlling cancer. At any given time, hundreds of research studies are under way at the cancer centers, ranging from basic laboratory research to clinical assessments of new treatments. Many of these studies are collaborative and may involve several cancer centers, as well as other partners in industry and the community.
NCI-Designated Cancer Centers deliver cutting-edge cancer treatments to patients in communities across the United States. Find a center near you and learn about its patient services and research capabilities.
Most of the NCI-Designated Cancer Centers are affiliated with university medical centers, although several are freestanding centers that engage only in cancer research.
The NCI-Designated Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research in basic, clinical, and/or population science. Comprehensive Cancer Centers demonstrate an added depth and breadth of research, as well as substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas. Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers conduct only laboratory research and do not provide patient treatment. There are 20 Cancer Centers, 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and 7 Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers.
Why the Cancer Centers Program is Important to Cancer Research
The NCI grant funding to the cancer centers supports shared research resources, provides developmental funds to advance scientific goals, and fosters cancer programs that draw investigators from different disciplines together. In addition, individual cancer center investigators are highly successful at obtaining research funding from NCI and other funding agencies and organizations. Indeed, research proposals from cancer center investigators account for about three-quarters of the successful investigator-initiated grants that are awarded by NCI.
The centers also offer training for scientists, physicians, surgeons, and other professionals seeking specialized training or board certification in cancer-related disciplines.
The Impact of Cancer Centers on Cancer Care
The cancer centers develop and translate scientific knowledge from promising laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients. Many cancer centers are located in communities with special needs and specific populations. As a result, these centers not only disseminate evidence-based findings into communities that can benefit from these findings, but the centers can also, through the experience of working with those patients, help inform national research and treatment priorities.
Each year, approximately 250,000 patients receive their cancer diagnosis at an NCI-Designated Cancer Center. An even larger number of patients are treated for cancer at these centers each year, and thousands of patients are enrolled in cancer clinical trials at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. The centers also provide public education and outreach programs on cancer prevention and screening, with special attention to the needs of underserved populations.
The rapid pace of discovery and the improved cancer treatments that the NCI-Designated Cancer Centers have helped pioneer have contributed substantially to the increase in the number of cancer survivors in the United States, as well as to the quality of their lives.