IU Simon Cancer Center earns NCI’s Comprehensive Cancer Center designation
August 8, 2019
The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center has achieved the highest recognition from the National Cancer Institute (NCI): Comprehensive Cancer Center. With this elite federal designation signifying research excellence, it becomes the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Indiana and one of just 51 in the nation.
Douglas Lowy, MD, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, shared the news during a celebratory event on Tuesday, August 6, on the IU School of Medicine campus in Indianapolis.
"Designated cancer centers are recognized for their state-of-the-art research programs and strong commitment to delivering cutting-edge cancer treatment for patients. They are at the core of the nation's cancer research effort," Lowy said.
For Indiana residents, the designation affirms that they have access to the most advanced, research-guided therapies, as well as hundreds of clinical studies that test the most promising new approaches to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.
"Indiana University has an outstanding history of advancing health care in the state of Indiana and around the world," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "This prestigious designation by the National Cancer Institute demonstrates that IU remains at the very leading edge of innovations in cancer care. As we celebrate the university's bicentennial and look to the future, we reaffirm our commitment to bring the most promising and innovative therapies to Indiana and to eliminate suffering caused by cancer."
Overall, the IU Simon Cancer Center received an "outstanding" rating by NCI reviewers and was awarded a five-year, $13.8 million grant that supports the center's research programs and shared facilities. That marks an increase of 43 percent from the previous five-year funding period.
In addition to recognizing the center's laboratory and clinical research, reviewers cited the "very well-designed community outreach efforts to serve the needs" of the state of Indiana. This includes initiatives to increase HPV vaccination rates, as well as developing, testing and disseminating interventions to increase screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in racially diverse and rural populations in Indiana.
"We take our goal to eliminate cancer's burden in Indiana and beyond seriously," said Patrick J. Loehrer, MD, director of the IU Simon Cancer Center. "Our research focuses upon decreasing the number of Hoosiers who develop and die from the cancers that strike our citizens. This grant bolsters support for us to uncover the biologic mysteries of cancer and define new therapies for patients here and around the globe."