Special to The Explorer

The Arizona Cancer Center has received a five-year, $20.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to renew support for its cancer research programs through 2014.

The grant renewal, which came with an "excellent" rating, also extends the Cancer Center's designation as one of 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, and the lone NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center headquartered in Arizona.

The Arizona Cancer Center at The University of Arizona has operated continuously with NCI support, or "core" grants, since 1978, when the cancer center received a $1 million federal award.

"The National Cancer Institute has again recognized the high quality of our research programs and our faculty and staff with this grant renewal," said David S. Alberts, MD, director of the Arizona Cancer Center. "Continuation of our funding, for more than 30 years, allows the Arizona Cancer Center to achieve its mission of serving the entire state of Arizona with translational research in cancer prevention and treatment, patient care, education and outreach."

"The receipt of this support grant renewal, and the 'excellent' rating, is a direct reflection on the extremely high quality and innovative work of our entire Arizona Cancer Center team," Dr. Alberts said.

"The AZCC is a cancer center that continues to make significant contributions to the national cancer research effort," the National Cancer Institute said. "Strengths of the cancer center are in the areas of chemoprevention, drug development and fundamental aspects of imaging. The AZCC has expanded its activities as a consortium across the state with the goal of bringing advances made at the AZCC to all the people of Arizona."

The federal funding – a 5 percent increase in NCI funding to the Cancer Center -- will be used to support five research programs, 13 shared services, and other functions serving the entire organization.

The Arizona Cancer Center's five core research programs are in cancer prevention and control; cancer biology and genetics; cancer imaging; gastrointestinal cancer; and therapeutic development. The shared services include genomics, flow cytometry and biometry, which each received "outstanding" ratings from the NCI site review team.

In addition, the Arizona Cancer Center has two prestigious Specialized Program of Research Excellence awards from NCI for research in gastrointestinal cancer and lymphomas.

With primary locations at The University of Arizona in Tucson and in Scottsdale, the Arizona Cancer Center has more than a dozen research and education offices throughout the state, and 300 physician and scientist members working to prevent and cure cancer. For more information, go to www.arizonacancercenter.org

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