By Beverly Ginsburg Cooper,Senior Director and Lead, Cancer Center Service Team, Huron Consulting Group
Since its inception, the mission of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Centers Program has been to create centers of excellence that share and translate cancer research findings as quickly as possible and impact the maximum number of patients nationally.
The approach has been focused on providing funding (Cancer Center Support Grant) for a select group of cancer centers that have the requisite leadership, authority, organization and resources to conduct cutting-edge research.
Below is a timeline of the evolution of the NCI Cancer Centers Program:
As the program evolved, there has been corresponding growth of NCI-designated cancer centers, with a total of 68 in 2014:
The impact of the program’s growth has resulted in cancer centers that have greater authority, resources, and flexibility to conduct innovative research. Cancer research has become a team science and care is now disease-focused, with a strong research emphasis. Overall, the program has contributed to the fall of cancer death rates since the 1990s.
The evolution of the program continues today, with cancer centers facing more opportunity and challenges along the way.