The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) has been rated “outstanding” and renewed as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, an award that recognizes the world-class research that sets the center among an elite group nationwide. The five-year grant is for $25.6 million and comes as UPCI celebrates its 30th year as a leader in working to reduce the burden of cancer.
UPCI is one of just 44 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S.
“The NCI renewal is an incredible accomplishment that comes after an extensive application and review process. The award recognizes our strength in basic, clinical and population research, education and community outreach and reflects the dedication of everyone here who is working toward a future without cancer,” said Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter, Hillman Professor of Oncology and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Pitt, and president-elect of the American Association of Cancer Research.
With 320 faculty members from 42 Pitt departments, UPCI received $68 million in annual funding from NCI in 2015 to support cancer research activities. Since the last renewal award, UPCI program members have published nearly 5,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals and received prestigious awards, including renewal of Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) grants in lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and melanoma and skin cancer and a new SPORE with another center in ovarian cancer.
Among other notable accomplishments, UPCI was also selected by the NCI as a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site and as an Experimental Therapeutics-Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Organization, both of which aim to streamline research trials. In addition, UPCI is playing a key role in an international study examining how environmental and lifestyle exposures and genetics have affected the incidence, mortality and age-related outcomes of cancer in more than 81,000 Chinese men and women, an effort funded by the NCI.
“Our faculty members are among the most sought- after cancer experts in the country, and we’re proud of the work that sets UPCI apart from other cancer research centers,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine.
Known colloquially as the “core grant,” NCI’s Cancer Center Support Grant is awarded every five years. Established in 1985, UPCI first received its status as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1990 and has retained this distinction since then.