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National Cancer Institute awards competitive grant to IU Simon Cancer Center

  

INDIANAPOLIS -- (Oct. 7, 2008) – The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center has been recognized as a premier cancer center for the third time by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) by renewing its clinical cancer center designation.

The NCI recently awarded the IU Simon Cancer Center a five-year, $6.5 million support grant following a multi-step competitive process.

The NCI designation places the IU Simon Cancer Center in an elite group of 64 research centers across the country that focus on the rapid translation of research discoveries to directly benefit people with cancer. It is the only NCI-designated cancer center in Indiana that provides patient care and performs basic research. (The Purdue Cancer Center is an NCI-designated cancer center that provides basic research only.)

“This recognition by the NCI was made possible by the efforts of scores of our members and associates,” Dr. Stephen D. Williams, director of the IU Simon Cancer Center and HH Gregg Professor of Oncology with the IU School of Medicine, said. “It stands as a testimony to the talented researchers and physicians here who conduct cutting-edge cancer research and translate these findings to patients and those at risk of cancer.”

Linda Weiss, Ph.D., chief of the Cancer Centers Branch of the NCI, added, “NCI-designated cancer centers, such as the IU Simon Cancer Center, are focused on discovering more about what causes cancer, and linking those research discoveries to the development of new and better methods in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and support for cancer survivors and their families.”

In addition to providing seed money for new research, the NCI grant will support center leadership, research-related administrative functions, and shared research resources.

The IU Simon Cancer Center first received the NCI designation in 1999, just seven years after its founding. Centers must be reviewed every four to five years to determine if they continue to meet the strict criteria required of NCI clinical cancer centers.

Grant funding awarded to IU cancer researchers and membership has continued to grow since 1999. External funding has grown from $29.4 million in 1999 to $75 million today. 

The membership of the IU Simon Cancer Center has grown from 150 members – researchers and oncologists -- in 1999 to its current 225 members. 

The cancer center’s patient and research facilities have increased as well. In 1999, the cancer center had 142,000 square feet. In late August, a 405,000-square-foot patient facility opened, and in early 2009, a new research building will open, giving the cancer center a total of 612,000 square feet.

Physicians and researchers at IU have been at the forefront of caring for cancer patients and developing new treatments that have become the standard of care worldwide. They have turned the cure rate of testicular cancer from 10 percent to nearly 95 percent today and gained an international recognition for treatment of breast, genitourinary, thoracic, hematologic and gastrointestinal cancers. IU Simon Cancer Center physicians at Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana University Hospital are recognized nationally for their bone marrow and stem cell transplantation program.  

Members and collaborators of the cancer center are on the faculties of the IU schools of medicine, nursing, and dentistry as well as the science departments at IU and Purdue University.