By Jenny Owen
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Friday, July 14, 2017
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, the state’s first cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute, has renewed its NCI designation for the 42nd year. The prestigious distinction was given to Massey for demonstrating superior capabilities in cancer education and in researching new and better cancer treatments as well as methods for prevention, detection and survivorship.
Massey is the only NCI-designated center in the Richmond region and one of just two in Virginia. Of the 1,500 cancer centers in the U.S., only 69 have earned an NCI designation, placing Massey in the top 4 percent nationwide. Massey received a planning grant from the NCI in 1974 to establish a cancer center at VCU and earned NCI designation in 1975. It has continuously retained that distinction ever since.
The renewal extends to 2022 and includes a Cancer Center Support Grant of $11 million to support research, clinical trials, education and training.
The NCI is the U.S. government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. It is part of the National Institutes of Health, which is one of 11 agencies that comprise the Department of Health and Human Services. NCI-designated cancer centers “are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources and the depth and breadth of their research in basic, clinical and/or population science,” according to the NCI’s website. The cancer centers develop and translate scientific knowledge from promising research discoveries into better prevention and treatment for cancer.
“NCI designation is the highest recognition for a cancer center, and I proudly commend our team members for their contributions that made it possible for Massey to merit this honor,” said Gordon Ginder, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center. “Our mission is to save and improve the lives of people affected by cancer, and this designation is one of many indications that Massey is making an impact on cancer.”
Massey researchers number nearly 200 and are faculty from 30 VCU academic departments, six schools and one college. They partner with research teams, clinicians and administrative staff to collaborate on laboratory, translational, clinical and population sciences research to discover new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and control cancer.
Massey had significant progress to report over the five-year review period (2012-2016): The cancer center recruited 36 new faculty who were crucial to achieving the goals of its strategic plan. It increased its cancer research funding and high-impact scientific publications. Massey also increased the translation of its new scientific findings into clinical trials, tripling the number of trials based on its own science.
Additionally, Massey’s involvement of trainees in its cancer research was strong, with more than 500 predoctoral and postdoctoral research students and Hematology-Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Pediatric Oncology and Palliative Care fellows since 2011. In the NCI review, Massey also reported on its community health outreach and public education dissemination, including its nationally prominent work in addressing cancer disparities among vulnerable and minority populations. This latest NCI Cancer Center Support Grant will provide critical funds as Massey works to expand its research and education enterprise. Massey’s goal is to become an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is the NCI’s top designation and recognizes cancer centers with the highest level of inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research collaborations and excellence in research translation and training.