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UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Rated Exceptional by National Cancer Institute Receives Largest Research Grant Ever

UPMC announced in December that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) renewed UPMC Hillman Cancer Center as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center for another five years while rating it “exceptional” and providing a $30 million research grant.

The “exceptional” score is the highest achievable rating and the research grant is the largest grant the Center has received to-date. According to UPMC, the grant will be used to advance the groundbreaking research that serves as the foundation for UPMC Hillman’s nationally-ranked patient care.

Of 71 NCI-designated cancer centers across the country, 51 are further designated as Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and are recognized for their leadership and resources, in addition to demonstrating an added depth and breadth of research, as well as substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas, according to the NCI.

In partnership with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in western Pennsylvania. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center received its first NCI designation in 1990 and has been granted renewal every five years since, according to UPMC.

Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., director of UPMC Hillman said that “The NCI renewal is an incredible accomplishment because it involves a rigorous year-long review of our programs and indicates that we’ve reached the highest achievements in laboratory and clinical cancer research, not just regionally but nationally and internationally. It is a great credit to our phenomenal scientists and oncologists across all disciplines for advancing their fields with practice-changing discoveries.”
 
UPMC Hillman and Pitt investigators have demonstrated significant advances in cancer research and clinical care over the past 30 years, including:

  • discovering two of the seven known cancer-causing viruses;
  • conducting research that has altered treatment paradigms and changed standard practice for a wide range of cancers, including melanoma, lung and breast cancers, thyroid, and head and neck cancers;
  • discovering new cancer immunotherapy drug targets and cancer vaccines that are being tested in clinical trials, frequently leading to new FDA approvals nationally.

“UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, together with the University of Pittsburgh, has made exceptional efforts to integrate cancer research and clinical care to drive next-generation therapies that have saved lives and improved the quality of life for patients around the world,” said Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine.

For patients, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Care Center provides promising new therapies, clinical trials and a care program focused on excellence.

UPMC Hillman is one of the largest integrated cancer networks operating nearly 80 community cancer centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Maryland, as well as centers in Ireland and Italy, and employing more than 2,000 physicians, researchers and staff. The network offers more than 500 clinical cancer trials.
 
“Our vision of creating cancer centers with expert physicians and staff who care for patients close to home has been a continual effort over many years,” said Stanley M. Marks, M.D., chairman of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “We realized early on that we didn’t want our patients to travel while dealing with the burden of cancer treatment, and now those centers are able to offer the latest treatments and clinical trials, many of them developed by our own scientists, to patients throughout the network.”

For more information about UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, visit hillmanresearch.upmc.edu or call (412) 647-2811.



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