Indiana University Cancer Center receives National Cancer Institute designation
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University Cancer Center has been recognized as a premier national center for the study of cancer and the development of new cancer treatments by the National Cancer Institute. As an NCI-designated clinical cancer center, the IU Cancer Center will receive a five-year, $6.3 million support grant. The grant bolsters the $33.3 million annual funding currently received for cancer research projects at IU. The NCI designation places the IU Cancer Center in an elite group of research centers that focuses on the rapid translation of research discoveries to directly benefit people with cancer.
"Indiana University Cancer Center's recognition as an NCI cancer center is a major accomplishment that will have many important benefits for those who are served by IU," said Brian W. Kimes, Ph.D., director of the Office of Centers, Training and Resources at the NCI. "As the only clinical cancer center supported by the NCI in the State of Indiana, it will sustain and nurture the important linkages of cancer research to cancer care and bring the benefits of research directly to the community and region it serves."
"An NCI research designation complements our long-standing recognition as one of the top clinical programs nationally," said Stephen D. Williams, M.D., director of the center and professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine. The NCI grant enhances the collaboration of research scientists and physicians throughout Indiana. Working closely together, medical, nursing and other scientific investigators are better able to target clinical problems in the laboratory and apply their findings to new patient treatments. These efforts include the expertise of physicians, laboratory scientists, nurses, social workers, behavioral scientists, dentists, nutritionists, radiation therapists, medical and imaging technologists, clinical pharmacologists, physical therapists and others involved in advancing therapies and care for cancer patients and their families.
In addition to providing seed money for new research, the NCI grant will support center leadership, research-related administrative functions and shared research resources. The only NCI-designated Clinical Cancer Center in Indiana, it has already begun discussions of collaboration with Purdue University's NCI-designated cancer research center.
"The IU Cancer Center is an important building block in IU's efforts to be America's New Public University and our Indianapolis campus, IUPUI, to be among the best of a new class of urban universities engaged with their cities and states, especially in the promotion of health, wellness, longevity and quality of life," said IUPUI Chancellor Gerald L. Bepko.
The IU faculty members affiliated with the IU Cancer Center are recognized for their excellence in developing gene therapies for bone marrow diseases such as leukemia, the 95 percent cure rate for testicular cancer in young men, and the use of umbilical cord stem cells for bone marrow transplantation. They hold one of three grants recently awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease to establish Core Centers of Excellence in Molecular Hematology. They have developed and operate one of only three NCI-designated viral vector manufacturing laboratories in the country, providing vectors to research scientists throughout the world engaged in the development of gene therapy for cancer patients. In addition, they have conducted extensive research on the behavior of people facing cancer diagnosis and treatment choices.
Members and collaborators of the IU Cancer Center are on the faculties of the IU schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry and allied health sciences, as well as the science departments at IU and Purdue University. Their work has a direct impact on patient care at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana University Hospital, both of Clarian Health Partners, as well as Wishard Health Services and Roudebush VA Medical Center.
"This designation comes at a most opportune time," said Robert W. Holden, M.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine and the Walter J. Daly Professor. "Along with the recent appropriation from the Indiana legislature to support developments in biomedical research, I see the NCI designation as a recognition of the research prowess at IU and a vote of confidence in its future.
"Certainly this is a significant step for this cancer center, which has received great public support, including a $20 million appropriation made possible by John Myers of Terre Haute while he was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives," Dr. Holden said.
IU's NCI designation has also become possible through the support of organizations such as the Walther Cancer Institute, Riley Memorial Association through the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Indiana Lions Cancer Control Fund, the Indiana Order of the Elks and Clarian Health Partners.
The Indiana University School of Medicine is the country's second largest public medical school with more than 1,000 full-time faculty, 2,000 volunteer faculty, 1,700 staff, 1,400 students and nearly 800 resident physicians. It serves the state through its statewide medical education system located on nine university campuses throughout Indiana.
With offerings on eight IU campuses, the Indiana University School of Nursing is the country's largest multi-purpose nursing school. It is home to the Mary Margaret Walther Program in cancer care/control and the Institute of Action Research for Community Health.