What is an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center?
Created as part of the National Cancer Act of 1971, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Centers Program designates centers that meet standards for clinical services and cancer care. Of 71 NCI-designated Cancer Centers, an elite group of 53 go even further to reach the highest standards of scientific excellence in research, treatment, prevention and education to earn designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.
NCI Comprehensive Cancer Centers comprise the most robust, innovative laboratory and clinical cancer research programs in the country. This is the research that’s making the biggest difference in cancer prevention, diagnostics and treatment and ultimately in finding a cure.Steven D. Leach, MD, Director of Dartmouth Cancer Center
Through a competitive grant review process every 5 years, Dartmouth Cancer Center has held this prestigious and competitive designation since the introduction of the title in 1990 and is still the only NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center in northern New England. This designation means that our cancer center does it all.
We treat all types of cancers using an interdisciplinary team-based approach. This means that multiple specially trained doctors, nurses, radiologists, pathologists, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists and more, each with his or her own area of specialty, come together to discuss each patient’s individual case, and determine the best treatment plan to discuss with each patient. Together, they manage all aspects of a patient’s cancer care journey as part of a coordinated team.
Specialists keep current on the newest research and treatments and are experienced in diagnosing and treating even the most complex disease.
The Dartmouth Cancer Center research enterprise consists of four basic research groups in addition to a full portfolio of early and later-stage clinical trials available to patients.
- Researchers in the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Research Program study basic mechanisms of cancer. A future of new therapies requires a clear foundational understanding of how cancer cells thrive and spread.
- The Cancer Population Science Research Program brings together scientists who research environmental and genetic cancer risk factors, behavioral cancer risk reduction, cancer prevention, and health care delivery research.
- Immunology & Cancer Immunotherapy focuses on developing new therapies for cancer that harness the power of the body’s own immune system.
- The bridge that brings scientific discoveries into clinical practice, the Translational Engineering in Cancer Program, looks to imaging, radiobiology, biophysics, and engineering approaches for new cancer diagnostic and treatment tools and strategies.
NCI Comprehensive Cancer Centers also have a responsibility to educate the public and healthcare professionals and provide outreach to underserved populations. Dartmouth Cancer Center runs an active Global Oncology Program, dedicated to bringing evidence-based solutions to the worldwide cancer burden, as well as training programs for scientists and researchers and prevention, education, and outreach efforts for our communities.
Dartmouth Cancer Center’s outstanding basic science research provides the foundation on which future therapies for cancer will be built. Our exceptional translational and clinical research infrastructures allow us to extend the most advanced clinical trials to our patients, and offer the most comprehensive, innovative and compassionate approach to their care.Steven D. Leach, MD, Director of Dartmouth Cancer Center
Learn more about the NCI Cancer Centers Program.