Founded in 1976 as a Division of The University of Arizona's College of Medicine, The University of Arizona Cancer Center is a Center of Excellence at The University of Arizona Health Sciences. In 1978, the cancer center received its first NCI Support Grant for $1 million, designating it as an official cancer research and treatment center. In 1990, The University of Arizona Cancer Center was designated as one of the first comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The University of Arizona Cancer Center is the only comprehensive cancer center headquartered in Arizona.
The primary responsibility of an NCI comprehensive cancer center is to conduct research that will lead to the reduction of cancer morbidity and mortality. A framework for this research consists of focusing upon the molecular and cellular mechanisms of oncogenesis. Molecular mechanisms emphasize genetic, epigenetic, and signaling mechanisms, while cellular mechanisms emphasize the biology of invasion and metastasis, as well as stromal-cellular interactions. With the primacy of this research mission in mind, the research programs and core services constitute a bedrock of The University of Arizona Cancer Center. Overall, The University of Arizona Cancer Center has four scientific research programs that work together to accomplish the Center’s mission to prevent and cure cancer:
These research programs collaborate concerning a breadth of issues from benchtop to bedside involving translational and clinical research with a major emphasis on discovery. Furthermore, the programs also focus on the development and delivery of novel treatments to reduce the morbidity and mortality of cancer in the Southwest and across the nation.
The University of Arizona Cancer Center provides an essential forum to foster outstanding basic and clinical translational research, interdisciplinary collaboration, education, training and internal and external peer review. The infrastructure of the research program support is established by eight Shared Resources funded by the Cancer Center Support Grant and two other resources funded by other sources, to support our research, education and training mission:
- Analytical Chemistry
- Behavioral Measurement and Interventions
- Cancer Imaging
- Experimental Mouse
- Flow Cytometry
- Tissue Acquisition and Cellular/Molecular Analysis
The extensive research portfolio of The University of Arizona Cancer Center includes more than $40 million in annual research funding, including three large NCI interdisciplinary programs and collaborative research grants, and two Special Programs of Research Excellence, one in gastrointestinal cancers and one in lymphoma.
- Division of Hematology/Oncology
- Department of Family and Community Medicine
- Department of Medical Imaging
- Department of Pathology
- Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
- Department of Psychiatry
- Department of Radiation Oncology
- Department of Surgery
- Multidisciplinary Clinics and Treatment
These clinics include multi-disciplinary patient care conferences for prospective patient management. Radiation Oncology is located at The University of Arizona Health Sciences - University Campus adjacent to the Cancer Center's Salmon and Levy research buildings on The University of Arizona Health Sciences campus, and at The University of Arizona Cancer Center - Orange Grove. The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT clinic is also located at The University of Arizona Health Sciences - University Campus.
Two Research organizations within The University of Arizona Cancer Center
Two innovative organizations have been established within The University of Arizona Cancer Center to focus upon special populations.
The Cancer Health Disparities Program addresses cancer disparities in underserved populations in Arizona by bringing together and synergizing the strengths and expertise of several units at The University of Arizona Health Sciences. This program will provide research and training opportunities for investigators proposing research or planning to work in underserved communities.
The Skin Cancer Institute aims to unify various skin cancer-related research and educational activities into one coordinated entity. The Skin Cancer Institute brings together innovative research, visionary, clinical care and life changing education and outreach under one roof.
The translational research performed by University of Arizona Cancer Center investigators has resulted in the development of at least 17 bio-technology and pharmaceutical companies, mostly in Arizona.
Biotechnology companies include: Ventana Medical Systems, Cancer Technologies, DeMetrix, and ImaRx.
Pharmaceutical companies focused on cancer treatment include: AmpliMed, Arizona Cancer Therapeutics, Cylene, Montigen Pharmaceuticals, ProLx, Sanofi Aventis, and Targeted Cancer Therapeutics, LLC.
Pharmaceutical companies focused on cancer prevention include: Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Clinuvel, Niadyne, Surface Safe, Topical Technologies, Inc., and PHusis Therapeutics.
A study performed by the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona in 2008 suggests that the impact of a sustained $70 million in annual research funding through The University of Arizona Cancer Center includes: 5,180 jobs, $237 million in wages, $795 million in gross sales, $7 million in city and county revenues, and $10.5 million in state revenues.