March 9, 2001

VICC gets top NCI ranking

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Dr. Harold Moses, director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

VICC gets top NCI ranking

The National Cancer Institute has designated the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the highest ranking awarded to cancer centers by the federal government.

Sen. Bill Frist is scheduled to make the formal announcement today at 2:30 p.m. in the Wedgewood Room of the University Club. He will be joined by Mayor Bill Purcell; Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs; Dr. Harold L. Moses, director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Orrin H. Ingram, chairman of Vanderbilt-Ingram’s Board of Overseers; members of the university and medical center boards of trust, and other dignitaries.

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center 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.

To earn designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, a facility must go through 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 — a total of only four, in North Carolina and Alabama. 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 others 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 that time as a Clinical Cancer Center, which particularly recognized the center’s leadership and excellence in basic and 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), established a pain and symptom management program and launched an active cancer information, education and outreach office.