April 23, 1999

Cancer Center facts

Facts about the E. Bronson Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University

o Named in 1999 in honor of the late E. Bronson Ingram, founder of Ingram Industries and president of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust from 1991 until his death from cancer in 1995.

o Affiliated with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a major tertiary care referral center in Nashville.

o Unites more than 1,000 doctors, scientists, nurses and technicians with a common goal: to prevent most cancers and to cure those that develop with treatments that are more targeted and less toxic than ever before.

o The only institution in Tennessee – and one of a select few in the southeast – designated by the National Cancer Institute as a leader in cancer prevention, treatment and research in adults and children. For patients, having an NCI-designated cancer center nearby offers access to the latest therapies without the need to travel far from home.

o Emphasizes "translational research," which rapidly brings innovative therapies from discovery in the laboratory to treatment in the clinic or hospital and takes observations made in the clinic back to the laboratory for further study. In 1999, 166 investigational treatments were offered to patients.

o Its scientists are aggressively pursuing some of the most promising areas of cancer research. These include gene therapy, anti-angiogenesis (starving the tumor by choking off its blood supply), cancer vaccines and immunotherapy, and techniques to prevent the growth and spread of tumors by interfering with key signals between and within cells. They also are developing better combinations of existing therapies and enhancing current techniques to reduce side effects.

o Much of its current research builds on work by Vanderbilt University's two Nobel laureates, Earl Sutherland and Stanley Cohen. Sutherland's landmark research was in the field of "signal transduction," the way in which messages are communicated from the outside to the inside of the cell. Cohen's pioneering work was in the field of growth factors, which can spark, promote or even inhibit the multiplication and spread of cells. Both fields are ripe areas of discovery for today's cancer scientists.

o Receives nearly $47 million per year in research funds from the National Cancer Institute and other National Institutes of Health.

o Comprises the Henry-Joyce Cancer Clinic and Clinical Research Center, including a state-of-the-art outpatient Infusion Center, inpatient units in Vanderbilt Hospital and Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and more than 100 laboratories throughout the medical center and on the university campus.

o Includes two privately funded laboratories, the A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research and the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories of the T.J. Martell Foundation. The Hancock Laboratory, established in 1972 in memory of the late A.B. "Bull" Hancock Jr., focuses on early diagnosis of cancer, with an emphasis on identification of high-risk individuals and prevention. The Preston Lab, established in 1993 by the music industry charity in honor of Broadcast Music Inc. president and CEO Frances Williams Preston, is dedicated to developing gene therapies and other innovative approaches to breast, ovarian, prostate, colon and lung cancer.

o Consistently recognized as one of the nation's leading cancer centers and its physicians consistently listed among the nation's top experts in their fields. Last year, Vanderbilt was ranked among the top 25 cancer centers in the country in a survey by U.S. News and World Report. Three of its physicians were recently listed among the nation's top lung cancer experts for women in a survey by Good Housekeeping magazine.

o Director: Dr. Harold L. Moses, Benjamin F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and director of the Frances Williams Preston laboratories; Associate Director for Clinical Programs: Dr. David H. Johnson, Cornelius Abernathy Craig Professor in Medical and Surgical Oncology and director of the division of Hematology/Oncology; Associate Director for Research Programs: Lawrence J. Marnett, Ph.D., Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research and director of the A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research.

o In fiscal year 1998, Vanderbilt had more than 2,000 inpatient cancer admissions and more than 30,000 outpatient cancer visits.

o Reaches into local communities through a consortium of community hospitals and private practice physicians who conduct patient treatment studies of innovative new therapies under the guidance of Ingram Cancer Center physicians. This "affiliate network" makes new therapies available to more patients in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, and speeds the evaluation of promising new drugs.

o Offers a Patient Support Program to provide comfort and encouragement through amenities such as refreshments, manicures, shoulder massages, music, pet therapy, and – in collaboration with local companies – airport limousine and laundry services during extended stays. Its Community Outreach Program educates the public and raises awareness about cancer research, prevention, treatment and related resources through an active web site, various publications, and special events for survivors and their families.

o More information, contact the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center's web site: www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/VUMC/centers/cancer.

o Cancer survivors, their families and referring physicians can learn more about patient treatment studies and other innovative therapies by calling its Cancer Information Program at 1-800-811-8480.

o News media wishing to learn more about the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center or to arrange interviews with its scientists or caregivers should call the Office of News and Public Affairs, 615-322-4747.