Norris Cotton Cancer Center: 2009 in Review

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

At the turn of the year, I am happy to share with you outstanding news of your Cancer Center, which is thriving despite the economic downturn. Building upon the successful five-year renewal of our designation as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, we have brought renewed focus to our expansion into the region and continued to build on key areas of Dartmouth science. None of these successes would be possible without the extremely high caliber of our clinicians, scientists, staff, and leadership who contribute their energy, imagination, and expertise.

The clinical enterprise grew significantly in its delivery of interdisciplinary, evidence-based, patient-centered oncology care in Lebanon and throughout our region. With the formalization of our alliance with Norris Cotton Cancer Center - Kingsbury Pavilion at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, and the addition of new providers and specialist services at our Manchester, NH and St. Johnsbury, VT locations, the Cancer Center now serves more than half of its patients outside the Lebanon location. New services and programs support our patients and families through their cancer journeys, including a new patient resource library in St. Johnsbury, innovative art therapy programs in Lebanon, a patient navigator in Manchester, and new phone support groups that allow patients and caregivers, no matter where they live, to 'meet' and share experiences.

We continue to review and improve systems for delivering safe and effective specialty cancer care throughout our region, and to secure recognition of our clinical excellence with renewed designations such as Nurse Magnet, FACT Accreditation, and ranking among the 50 top cancer hospitals in the country by U.S.News and World Report. Significant growth in our Office of Clinical Research, including the addition of Clinical Research Nurses to guide the care of patients on clinical trials, greatly enhances our ability to offer innovative treatment protocols to our patients.

Our research enterprise in 2009 had significant success in securing funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with 37 grants totaling $16 million. Reflecting the strength of our scientific program, our current funding for cancer research totals $63 million annually. Indeed, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, despite its relatively small size, ranked in the top five percent of institutions nationwide in total dollars of research funding from the National Cancer Institute in fiscal year 2009.

Our scientists drive critical collaborations across Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Thayer School of Engineering, and Dartmouth College. Emerging discoveries represent significant contributions to the national understanding of cancer, particularly in control of risk behaviors, chemoprevention and epidemiology, cancer imaging, immunotherapy, genetics, and drug development. Important screening registries in breast and colon cancer are informing our understanding of these diseases. New directions-comparative effectiveness research and community outreach-are responsive to the DHMC and Cancer Center shared mission to achieve the healthiest populations possible and benefit from emerging collaborations with The Dartmouth Institute.

We are equally pleased to report substantial philanthropic achievements that benefit the Cancer Center. The $40 million philanthropy target for cancer set by Dartmouth's Transforming Medicine Campaign was met. In addition, discretionary income generated by The Prouty-over $2 million in each of the past two years-makes possible essential programs for which other sources of funding do not exist, including supportive services for patients and families, and funding for young investigators.

It will be the continuing goal of Cancer Center leadership to empower our clinical and research leaders to meet the challenges ahead and continue their trajectory of excellence in the coming year. As a vital contributor to the work of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, your commitment to our goals is critical to our success, and deeply appreciated. Together, we are delivering on our promise: The best cancer care in the world. Right here. Right now.


Mark A. Israel, M.D.
Director, Norris Cotton Cancer Center