Founded in 1972, Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) is an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center that works closely with both Dartmouth College and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system. NCCC generates interdisciplinary and high-impact discoveries that are relevant to the community it serves and that shift paradigms and influence policy decisions.
As the only comprehensive cancer center with an NCI designation based in northern New England, NCCC is committed to providing access to research-based care, advanced technologies, and clinical trials for patients throughout the area.
Research Programs at NCCC
The center’s 126 investigators advance cancer science in four program areas: cancer population science, cancer biology and therapeutics, translational engineering in cancer, and immunology and cancer immunotherapy. Cancer research represents a majority ($50 million annually) of all peer-reviewed research in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and leads clinical trial enrollment across Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health’s member organizations.
In partnership with The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, NCCC has developed important cancer registries in breast and colon cancer screening and is shaping new work in health delivery, outcomes, and comparative-effectiveness research. Current standards of care are benefiting from fundamental NCCC advances in immunology and in imaging. NCCC’s Rubin Building and the adjacent Williamson Translational Research Building on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center campus provide facilities to foster collaborations with faculty at Dartmouth’s Hanover campus.
Through interdisciplinary clinical programs, physicians and scientists are collaborating to accelerate the translation of research advances into novel treatments for 3,700 new and 18,000 current cancer patients annually, as of 2020.
NCCC is one of 32 Lead Academic Participating Sites in NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network. More than 200 cancer specialists work in interdisciplinary, disease-specific teams to treat patients with all types of cancer using the latest technologies in diagnostics and imaging; medical, radiation, and surgical oncology; bone marrow transplantation; and immunotherapy. The Center for Surgical Innovation integrates intraoperative imaging into clinical care and research.
Select Scientific Initiatives at NCCC
Community outreach and engagement are very important to NCCC. NCCC’s community programs focus on developing partnerships throughout the region to facilitate a relationship with the community to ensure that the center is addressing the needs of the populations it serves, particularly rural and vulnerable populations.
In addition to NCCC’s extensive regional partnerships, NCCC’s Community Advisory Board, which includes community members, cancer survivors, community organization representatives, health care professionals, and academic partners, provides guidance on relevant research and community outreach programs. To that end, NCCC has prioritized research and outreach focused on understanding and addressing behavioral (e.g., tobacco use and HPV vaccine uptake) and environmental (e.g., arsenic exposure) risk factors, as well as cancer screening services and survivorship.
NCCC has developed innovative approaches to delivering advanced cancer care and technologies to remote patients throughout rural regions enabling patients to provide important medical and psychosocial input to their care team. Interdisciplinary clinics coordinate visits to several providers in a single day, allowing patients to work with a team of specialists to design their personalized treatment plan. Once a plan is developed, patients may receive much of their care close to home through a regional center or affiliated hospital. Using a model developed by the American Cancer Society, NCCC’s nurse navigators guide patients through their cancer diagnosis and treatment.
* This profile was provided by the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth.