The University Record, September 10, 1996

NCI awards Comprehensive Cancer Center $15 million

The new Cancer Center building is scheduled to house the Comprehensive Cancer Center program as well as the Geriatrics Center beginning early next year.

By Maria M. White
U-M Health System News Service

The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center has been awarded a five-year, $15 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to fund a range of cancer prevention, research and treatment programs.

After a vigorous review process, the NCI ranked the U-M's cancer program as "outstanding" and assigned a score that places it among the top five comprehensive cancer centers in the country.

"The ranking is significant to cancer patients and families in Michigan because it is the only truly objective evaluation of NCI-designated cancer centers," says Max S. Wicha, Cancer Center director. "The fact that we are rated among the top five centers nationally reflects the many exciting advances we have made toward understanding what causes cancer and improving diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients."

Based on the recommendations of the NCI's site review team, the Cancer Center received a nearly 40 percent increase in funding. "This is an unprecedented increase during a time of fiscal constraint for federal cancer research funding," says Wicha, who formerly chaired the NCI committee responsible for evaluating all NCI-designated cancer centers' performance.

The grant will fund the Cancer Center's 17 multidisciplinary treatment and research programs, which focus on every major type of malignancy, as well as cancer prevention and genetics programs.

"What sets us apart is not only the quality of cancer research conducted here, but also the collaboration among our 300-plus physicians and researchers," Wicha says. "These talented individuals work as teams, and the results are far greater than could ever have been achieved by the individuals alone."

The Cancer Center was established at the Medical Center in 1986 and received its "comprehensive" designation in 1991. Early next year, the Cancer Center will move into a new facility adjacent to University Hospital. The nine-story, 252,000 gross-square-foot building (including outpatient clinics and research laboratories) is designed to further enhance interdisciplinary efforts aimed at cancer treatment and research. It also will house the Geriatrics Center.