The University of Arizona Cancer Center has been recognized for its multidisciplinary cancer research and research-driven clinical care through a highly competitive grant award from the National Cancer Institute. The NCI has renewed the center’s status as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and awarded a five-year, $17.6 million Cancer Center Support Grant, based on the strength, depth and breadth of basic laboratory, clinical, prevention, control and population-based research.
The UA Cancer Center is one of only 45 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation — and the only one with headquarters in Arizona. The renewed designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center gives patients throughout Arizona and the Southwest access to the most comprehensive, research-driven cancer care and treatments.
The UA Cancer Center received its initial NCI designation in 1978 and was elevated to Comprehensive Cancer Center status in 1990.
The grant supports the important work in cancer research that has been the cornerstone of the mission and history of the UA Cancer Center, which is led by Dr. Andrew S. Kraft, who holds the Sydney E. Salmon Endowed Chair. In addition to being the center's director, Kraft is vice president for oncology programs for the UA Health Sciences and senior associate dean for translational research at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
"This grant and the renewal of our comprehensive designation facilitates our mission to prevent and cure cancer through the discovery of novel treatments and advances our understanding of the genetic basis of all types of cancer," Kraft said. "The NCI's support ensures that our scientific research, innovations and therapies benefit our patients and improve public health in our state and around the world."
"The UA Cancer Center is integral to the mission of the UA Health Sciences, where we are focused on improving the health of our communities, improving access to quality health care for everyone and finding treatments and cures for the diseases that affect the people of our state," said Dr. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, UA senior vice president for health sciences, the Dr. Merlin K. DuVal Professor of Medicine and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine. "Through the outstanding leadership of Dr. Kraft and the exceptional efforts of the cancer center’s dedicated researchers, clinicians, trainees, support staff and community volunteers, we are gaining ground in the fight against cancer."
"I am incredibly proud of the important work that we do here at the University of Arizona, and our continued efforts to eradicate cancer are critical to our mission as researchers, educators and clinicians. The Comprehensive Cancer Center is a marquee institution at the University, and Dr. Kraft and his team are making tremendous strides that will have a significant impact on the health and prosperity of our state of Arizona," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart.
The UA Cancer Center is focused on four research program areas: cancer biology, therapeutic development, cancer prevention and control, and cancer imaging. Using 21st-century research methods, the center collaborates with colleges, departments and allied disciplines across the UA.
As the lone NCI-designated cancer center headquartered in the state, the UA Cancer Center is bringing the future of cancer care to downtown Phoenix. Medical staff, recruited from across the nation, began seeing patients in August 2015 at the UA Cancer Center's 220,000-square-foot outpatient clinic and research building at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The five-story facility is located in downtown Phoenix.
This grant will support the UA's commitment to prevent and treat cancer, the leading cause of death in Arizona, which has an average of nearly 28,000 incidences of new cancer cases each year and 12,000 deaths. The impact of the NCI's comprehensive designation is far-reaching, allowing the UA Cancer Center to attract more top-tier research and clinical talent to the UA Health Sciences, which has a direct statewide economic impact.
The National Cancer Institute is one of 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health, and it serves as the federal government's primary unit for cancer research and training.