University of New Mexico Cancer Center
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The University of New Mexico Cancer Center (UNMCC) was founded in 1971 by the New Mexico State Legislature and received its NCI designation in 2005. It is the official state cancer center for New Mexico.
Building on regional strengths in special populations and nanotechnology, engineering, and high performance computing, The Center’s mission is to conduct outstanding transdisciplinary research in its laboratories, clinics, and multiethnic communities; reduce the burden of cancer incidence and mortality by discovering the genetic, environmental, social, and behavioral factors that contribute to the distinct cancer patterns and disparities in the American Southwest; translate its scientific discoveries to novel diagnostic, screening, prevention, and therapeutic tools and clinical trials; and assure that all New Mexicans have access to outstanding cancer treatment and clinical trials.
UNMCC has 128 members whose cancer-focused research programs include collaborations between the Center’s four research programs and its consortium partners: Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute and Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. The Center’s programs are: Cancer Population Sciences, Cancer Biology and Biotechnology, Hematologic Malignancies, and Women’s Cancers. In addition, UNMCC is: one of nine NIH-funded Roadmap Centers for High Throughput Target Screening and Molecular Discovery; one of 10 NIH-funded National Centers for Systems Biology; funded with two awards under the NCI Nanotechnology Platform Partnership Program; a founder of the NCI TARGET Project in ALL; a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Specialized Center of Research; and its members participate in the nation’s only Interdisciplinary HPV Prevention Center and a joint Center focused on Breast Cancer Disparities in Latinas with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.
New Mexico is rich in multicultural and multiethnic diversity and has significant remote and underserved populations and challenging health and socioeconomic disparities. It is home to the largest percentage of Hispanics in the United States and the second highest percentage of Native Americans. Ethnic minorities comprise 58 percent of the state’s population and New Mexico has some of the worst cancer health disparities in the nation. The UNMCC has developed collaborative community partnerships to overcome these issues, working with the State Department of Health and New Mexico’s Pueblos, tribes, and American Indian Nations.
The Center opened a new facility in August, 2009 to assure that all New Mexicans have access to high quality cancer diagnosis and treatment. This treatment center is the hub of the UNM Statewide Cancer Care Network and a Statewide Collaborative Cancer Clinical Trials Organization supported by a NCI MBCCOP, with collaborative clinics and outreach programs in Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Farmington. Over half the patients making ambulatory clinic visits in 2010 were Hispanic and American Indian. While maintaining its mission to the underserved and uninsured, the Center annually accrues nearly 20 percent of its patients to therapeutic clinical trials.
* This profile was provided by the University of New Mexico Cancer Center.