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Stanford Report, April 23, 2003

Future cancer research discussed at town-hall meeting


The School of Medicine has set its sights on joining 39 other institutions around the country designated by the National Cancer Institute as comprehensive cancer centers. These centers receive funding through the NCI to support the infrastructure for basic research and clinical cancer programs.

At an April 9 town-hall meeting at the medical center, Karl Blume, MD, described 13 research programs within the comprehensive cancer center, with seven basic research programs, five translational/clincal programs and one program in population science.

The school is working toward an application deadline of October 2004 for a cancer center support grant, added Blume, professor of medicine, emeritus, and director of clinical cancer research who is preparing the grant.

"Being a designated cancer center will allow us to accomplish something really outstanding at Stanford," said Philip Pizzo, MD, dean of the School of Medicine.

Each of the basic research programs must demonstrate established research funding, since the NCI grant would cover infrastructure rather than research costs.

The Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, directed by Irving Weissman, MD, will make up one of the research programs.

The NCI designates basic research, clinical and comprehensive cancer centers. In order to become a comprehensive cancer center, the school must show that it carries out both basic and clinical research in addition to prevention and patient outreach.

Blume said that the roughly 2,000 new cancer patients at Stanford each year should be enough to serve as a base for clinical research, although the school will need to show that it has programs in place to reach out to minority patients in neighboring communities.

Another step toward establishing the comprehensive cancer center includes finding a nationally recognized cancer researcher to be the cancer research director and principal investigator on the grant.

This person would possibly become the Ludwig professor of cancer research.

Both Blume and Weissman encouraged faculty input throughout the process of applying for the cancer center support grant.

Cancer research uncovers protein’s double identity (2/12/03)

Unique cancer and stem cell institute launched (12/11/03)