Yale Cancer Center combines a tradition of innovative cancer treatment and quality care for patients. An NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1974, Yale Cancer Center is a collaboration between nationally and internationally renowned scientists and physicians at Yale School of Medicine and Smilow Cancer Hospital.
Smilow Cancer Hospital cares for patients at its main location and the 14 Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers, each of which provides cancer care by Yale Cancer Center faculty physicians. Building on the scientific traditions of Yale University, Smilow Cancer Hospital is dedicated to interdisciplinary cancer research in basic science, translational research, and prevention and control.
Research at Yale Cancer Center
Cancer research at Yale began decades before the center was founded, when the first use of a cancer drug, nitrogen mustard, was administered at Yale New Haven Hospital in 1942. Since then, research efforts have expanded to include two research Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants in lung and skin cancer, and about 100 NCI-funded research projects. With the development of a CAR T-Cell Therapy Program, and a Phase I Program that offers over 40 phase I trials to patients, Yale Cancer Center has become a world leader in cancer care, research, and education, delivering transformative scientific discoveries and care innovations to patients.
Research endeavors at Yale Cancer Center are focused through seven research programs that include faculty members and researchers from a variety of disciplines: Developmental Therapeutics; Genomics, Genetics & Epigenetics; Cancer Immunology; Cancer Microbiology; Cancer Signaling Networks; Cancer Prevention & Control; and Radiobiology & Radiotherapy. These research programs encompass the activities of a group of investigators from different disciplines and academic departments who share common scientific interests and goals and participate in competitively funded research. Yale Cancer Center researchers have been a part of many major discoveries, including the:
- E6 and E7 gene in HPV linking the cancer cell growth in the virus to the development of cervical cancer
- survivin gene, which is linked to the detection of some cancers
- creation of Automated Quantitative Analysis (AQUA) to analyze microarray specimens in cancer research
- discovery of the protein PD-L1, which provided an important foundation for the development of immunotherapies that enabled more effective immune responses against cancer
Select Scientific Initiatives at Yale Cancer Center
In the fight against cancer, Yale has been at the forefront of understanding the fundamental mechanisms of cancer biology and in developing effective therapies for the treatment of cancer. Yale Cancer Center harnesses the resources of Yale School of Medicine and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven to advance cancer research, prevention, and patient care, as well as community outreach and education. Some of the center’s most recent initiatives include the:
- CAR T-Cell Therapy Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital, which brings an innovative new immunotherapy treatment option to patients with certain blood cancers
- Phase I Program, which conducts clinical trials using checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies that activate the immune system and shrink tumors (Phase I trials allow clinicians to look for new causes for drug effectiveness or drug resistance.)
- Yale Center for Immuno-Oncology, which was established in 2018 to build on Yale Cancer Center’s international leadership in immunology, immunobiology, and the development of innovative cancer immunotherapies
The center’s mission is to continually build on the knowledge of basic and translational cancer research and to push for accelerated progress for novel therapies.
This profile was provided by Yale Cancer Center.