March 2001

From Vanderbilt University Medical Center

National Cancer Institute designates Vanderbilt-Ingram a Comprehensive Cancer Center

Nashville, TN (March 9, 2001) -- The National Cancer Institute has designated the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the highest ranking awarded cancer centers by the federal government, Sen. Bill Frist announced here today.

Vanderbilt-Ingram is the only center in Tennessee to join the top tier of cancer centers nationwide. This network of 39 institutions includes such well-respected centers as Memorial Sloan-Kettering, M.D. Anderson and Johns Hopkins.

"Thirty years ago, the President and the U.S. Congress declared War on Cancer and charged the National Cancer Institute with overseeing that effort," Frist said. "It is the Comprehensive Cancer Centers, like Vanderbilt, that are the leaders of this battle and the places where the cures for cancer are most likely to be found. I'm proud that Vanderbilt has worked so hard to earn this distinction, and I'm pleased that the NCI has awarded this prestigious designation in recognition of Vanderbilt's commitment to fight cancer."

To earn designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, a facility must undergo a competitive review process and meet rigorous standards, specifically in three areas:

  1. innovative and comprehensive research into the causes, development, prevention and treatment of cancer;

  2. leadership in the development and study of new therapies;

  3. commitment to the community through programs for cancer information, education and outreach. Relatively few Comprehensive Cancer Centers are found in the southeast. Six states that border Tennessee do not have Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

The designation does not directly bring more money to Vanderbilt-Ingram. However, the prestige that comprehensive designation brings to a center is expected to help make Vanderbilt-Ingram even more competitive in recruiting new talent and attracting new funding from both government and private sources.

The center currently receives nearly $4.3 million each year as its "core grant" to cover the administrative and other costs of operating a designated center. That grant will be up for renewal in 2003. In addition, the NCI and other funding sources provide nearly $75 million to support research and other programs at Vanderbilt-Ingram. One of the requirements of NCI-designated centers is that the majority of their research funding is awarded through competitive peer-review or equally rigorous mechanisms.

Achieving comprehensive designation is the realization of a longtime goal for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The center was formed in 1993, and two years later, became the youngest cancer center in history to be designated by the NCI -- at time as a Clinical Cancer Center, which particularly recognized the center's leadership and excellence in patient-oriented cancer research. Since that time, the center has enhanced its internationally recognized basic cancer research program, added important programs in prevention and epidemiology (the study of large populations for insights into disease), and launched an active cancer information, education and outreach office.

Located in Nashville, Tenn., Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is affiliated with Vanderbilt University and Medical Center. It includes the Henry-Joyce Cancer Clinic, inpatient facilities in Vanderbilt Hospital and Children's Hospital, the region's first comprehensive breast diagnostic center and its only Cancer Pain and Symptom Management Program and Family Cancer Risk Service. Its internationally known research program encompasses basic science, patient-oriented research, population-based research into causes of cancer, and basic and clinical prevention studies. For more information about Vanderbilt-Ingram, visit its website at

This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright 2004

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