August 1, 2001


Announcement Made From U.S. Capitol

LA JOLLA, Aug. 1 – The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated UCSD Cancer Center as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the highest ranking awarded to cancer centers by the federal government, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced here today via a live video satellite link from the nation’s capitol.

Including UCSD, there are only 41 cancer centers nationwide that carry the NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. The title signifies that UCSD Cancer Center covers a full range of cancer research activities, including basic and clinical science, population studies, community outreach programs and cancer-prevention activities.

"Thirty years ago, the President and the U.S. Congress declared war on cancer and charged the National Cancer Institute with overseeing that effort," said Feinstein, who is also chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition and vice-chair of the National Cancer Dialogue. "It is Comprehensive Cancer Centers, like UCSD, that are at the leading edge of this battle, where advances against cancer are most likely to be made. I am pleased indeed to announce that the NCI has awarded this prestigious designation in recognition of the excellence of UCSD’s contributions to the fight against cancer."

To earn a designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, an organization must go through a competitive review process and meet rigorous standards in three specific areas:

“With this new designation, the UCSD Cancer Center moves into the elite top tier of cancer centers in the nation,” said UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes. “Cancer patients who turn to UCSD for consultation or treatment can do so with the confidence that they have access to the most promising therapies and advanced technology. Comprehensive status also will make the Center even more competitive in recruiting outstanding new faculty to this region and in attracting research funding from government and private sources.”

“One of the impressive characteristics of the UCSD Cancer Center is its strong commitment to bring together multiple scientific disciplines to apply the full weight of science to the cancer problem,” said Edward W. Holmes, M.D., UCSD Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Scientific collaboration accelerates discovery, and is one of the characteristics recognized and valued by the NCI.” Holmes added that UCSD is home to many strong research programs and to several rare national resources, such as the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, both of which are actively involved with the Cancer Center.

David Tarin, M.D., Ph.D.

Said David Tarin, M.D., Ph.D., Director of UCSD Cancer Center: “The Cancer Center is dedicated to delivering outstanding care based upon the most advanced research. Such care ranges from early diagnosis to effective treatment and prevention of the disease. We are honored by the NCI’s recognition of our efforts to provide a comprehensive, high-quality cancer program for our community.”

Tarin, who is also Professor of Pathology and Associate Dean for Cancer Affairs in the UCSD School of Medicine, has worked toward the comprehensive center designation since becoming director in 1997. Under his leadership, the number of physicians and scientists affiliated with the Center has increased 70 percent (from 133 to 227), important new research and clinical programs have been instituted, and community education and outreach activities have increased.

“The NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center designation is important to cancer patients in the San Diego region because it further enhances our ability to make cancer-related discoveries, introduce more and better treatment options, recruit outstanding faculty and staff, and educate the public about cancer prevention and early detection,” said Tarin. “Our growth is good for cancer care organizations throughout the area as we continue to work with our community partners and to do our part to make San Diego a healthier community.”

The NCI recently completed a thorough review of the Cancer Center and gave it a resounding endorsement, resulting in renewal of the Center’s “core grant,” which supports existing and new research programs and infrastructure. This newest support grant amounts to nearly $19 million over five years, more than tripling the previous level of NCI support.

Cancer Center LogoSince its founding in 1979, UCSD Cancer Center has been an NCI-designated Clinical Cancer Center, which means it has met the highest standards for conducting research and translating those findings into improved cancer treatment. With its new status as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSD joins the uppermost ranks of this elite community of cancer centers, which includes M.D. Anderson in Houston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York and Dana-Farber in Boston.

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Media Contact: Nancy Stringer

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