The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has been awarded the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) highest designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. The prestigious distinction recognizes the cancer center’s high caliber of scientific leadership and robust programs in basic, clinical, and population science research, placing it in the top tier of cancer centers nationwide. The new name of the center is the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC).
The cancer center was granted NCI-designated Cancer Center status in 2008 and applied this past fall to become a Comprehensive Cancer Center. NCI awarded the center the new designation after a rigorous review, which included a 3-day site visit by 22 NCI reviewers in late February. The new designation goes into effect at the start of the cancer center’s next grant cycle August 1.
As a result of the new designation, the cancer center’s grant will increase 50%, to $1.5 million, and the center will be eligible for other funding from the NCI and other public and private sources.
“We are extremely proud to have met the NCI’s exacting standards to be recognized as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and to be ranked in the very top echelon of cancer centers in the country,” said Kevin J. Cullen, MD, the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Distinguished Professor of Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Cancer Center’s Director. “This designation is a tremendous achievement for our entire team and will significantly enhance our ability to translate discoveries in the laboratory into better treatments for cancer patients in Maryland and beyond.”
“We have made significant strides in expanding our basic and clinical research to include a strong population science program to help reduce disparities in both cancer treatment and prevention that threaten the health of minority populations,” Dr. Cullen said. “About 33% of the patients who take part in our clinical trials are African American, reflecting our cancer center’s unique position and mission to involve the minority community in state-of-the-art clinical and translational research.”
Dr. Cullen adds that the cancer center has also developed a comprehensive education and training program to educate the next generation of clinicians and scientists.
The UMGCCC is part of both the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center. All of the physicians and the majority of the basic scientists are employees and faculty members of the School of Medicine. The Cancer Center also is at the heart of the University of Maryland Cancer Network, which includes cancer centers at several community hospitals in the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS): the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center; the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center; and the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center.
“This designation marks a significant milestone for the Greenebaum Cancer Center, further advancing the extraordinary levels of clinical services and research available to the people of Maryland and the region,” said Robert A. Chrencik, President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Maryland Medical System. “Through the University of Maryland Cancer Network, our affiliated cancer centers treat Marylanders with the innovative and outstanding care they would expect from an academic cancer center—but closer to their homes.”
The Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only 46 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States. There are a total of 69 NCI-designated Cancer Centers in 35 states and Washington, D.C. NCI-designated Cancer Centers are the backbone of the NCI’s programs to study and control cancer. About three-quarters of NCI’s grants for investigator-initiated research are awarded to NCI-designated Cancer Centers, and many new therapies are available to patients as part of clinical trials. Studies have shown that patients treated at NCI-designated Cancer Centers have increased survival rates. ■