National Cancer Institute Renews Norris Cotton Cancer Center's National Designation

February 24, 2009

NCI Logo Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center was recently notified by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that it was approved for an additional five years as an NCI-designated cancer center, a prestigious distinction that the Cancer Center has held continuously since 1978. Norris Cotton Cancer Center is the only cancer center in northern New England, and one of only 40 centers nationwide, to hold the comprehensive cancer center designation from the NCI.

Many health care organizations call themselves comprehensive cancer centers based on their self-assessment of their prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, "the term 'comprehensive' as used by the NCI requires more than state-of-the-art care and services and includes a strong research base interactive with a wide spectrum of prevention, care, education, information and dissemination activities that broadly serve communities, regions of the country and often the Nation."

Norris Cotton Cancer Center, under the leadership of Director Mark A. Israel, MD, represents the integrated efforts of 126 Dartmouth scientists and researchers, with annual cancer research awards exceeding $54 million, and 162 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinicians providing the latest, research-based care and clinical trials throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.

"With this renewal, the NCI has underscored our commitment to excellence in research, and to building dynamic partnerships throughout our region that connect new discoveries in cancer to improved care for patients and cancer prevention and education programs for our communities," says Dr. Israel. "We strive to bring the knowledge and expertise of an NCI comprehensive cancer center directly to our communities, and to deliver the best cancer care in the world, helping patients to stay close to home even if they require specialized care or treatment on a clinical trial."

The NCI's review of Norris Cotton Cancer Center commented on the overall growth and strength of its scientific program, the important role the Cancer Center plays in the region, and its active involvement in the State of New Hampshire's cancer control efforts. The review also cited the Cancer Center's recent research contributions including a number of important advances in chemoprevention research, elucidating the role of the media in adolescent cancer risk behavior, establishing important cancer screening registries in colonoscopy and mammography, developing novel therapeutics and cancer vaccines, and leading advances in breast cancer imaging and in nanotherapeutics.

Patient-centered cancer care at Norris Cotton Cancer Center is provided through 11 interdisciplinary oncology programs, each specializing in a particular kind of cancer and emphasizing the translation of advanced cancer research into new therapies for patients with cancer. Patients receive individualized care from a team of clinicians specializing in medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, pathology, radiology, advanced oncology nursing, reconstructive surgery, psychosocial services, and other specialties.

The Cancer Center also has major programs in bone marrow transplant, palliative care, cancer risk assessment and genetic testing, and hemophilia. Through its central location at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, regional locations in Manchester and Keene, NH, and St. Johnsbury, VT, and a network of partnerships with community hospitals throughout the region, the Cancer Center provides technologically advanced care and clinical trials of new therapies to patients as close to home as possible.

More information about Norris Cotton Cancer Center research, programs, and clinical trials can be found online at