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NCI-Designated Cancer Centers Expand, Four Awarded Comprehensive Designation

, by NCI Staff

Comprehensive cancer centers meet rigorous criteria for laboratory, clinical, and population-based research.

Credit: National Cancer Institute

It’s been a busy summer for NCI’s cancer centers program, which added a new institution and awarded the comprehensive designation to four existing NCI-designated centers.

With the addition of the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, NCI’s cancer centers program now has 69 cancer centers in 35 states. The upgraded designations for the four centers that were already part of the NCI program—from standard cancer centers to comprehensive cancer centers—brings the total number of comprehensive cancer centers to 45.

Tisch Cancer Institute is the first new center added to the NCI cancer centers program in 2 years.

The four cancer centers that earned comprehensive status are:

To receive the comprehensive designation, a center must meet NCI’s rigorous criteria for laboratory research, clinical research, and population-based research. The centers must also demonstrate the ability to conduct transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas, explained Henry Ciolino, Ph.D., acting director of NCI’s Office of Cancer Centers.

Having four centers earn comprehensive status in one year is a rare event, he said.

“It’s important to see the program continuing to grow, and it’s exciting to see that our existing designated cancer centers are pushing themselves to achieve even greater levels of scientific leadership and clinical research excellence,” he said.

NCI’s cancer centers program dates back to 1960, when the first cancer centers received funding from NCI to expand multidisciplinary cancer research at their institutions. The program was officially established in 1971 as part of the National Cancer Act signed by President Nixon.

Centers in the program receive core grants, which provide essential funding for the infrastructure of their major scientific programs, and support grants, which help to address areas like the development of shared research resources and provide developmental funds to advance scientific goals. Each cancer center re-competes for its core grant every 5 years.

Barbara Duffy Stewart, executive director of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), said: “AACI congratulates and is proud to recognize our member cancer centers that have been designated by NCI this summer. Through their exemplary melding of unsurpassed patient care, groundbreaking research and commitment to value and quality, these centers are at the forefront of the national effort to ease the burden of cancer.” 

The AACI represents 95 cancer centers across the United States, including most of the NCI-designated centers.

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