University of Maryland cancer center gets top designation from federal research agency

Maryland cancer center gets top federal designation.

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has officially become a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, joining the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and 44 other U.S. cancer centers with the top designation from the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training.

The designation recognizes the institution’s level of research, both at the basic scientific level and among humans, making it eligible for more funding from the cancer institute and other sources.

About three quarters of the National Cancer Institute funding goes to designated cancer centers.

The Maryland center, which treats about 3,300 new cancer patients annually, became a NCI-designated center in 2008 but achieved the higher label after a rigorous review, according to Maryland officials.

“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,” said Dr. Kevin J. Cullen, a professor of oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the cancer center’s director.

Patients are typically eligible to receive the latest drugs as part of trials at such cancer centers, and Cullen said funding will enable more research into new cancer treatments. The center also will continue to train the next generation of researchers and clinicians at the center.

The center currently has $61.7 million in research funding, about $22.7 million from the National Cancer Institute. Areas of research include immunotherapy that uses the body’s own immune system to fight various cancers, development of a compound used to mitigate lung injury in patients undergoing radiation therapy and the genomics of pain and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.

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