Cancer Center Membership
The heart and soul of any Comprehensive Cancer Center is its membership.
- Types of Members
- How To Apply
- Membership Expectations & Benefits
- (Have questions about your profile? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.)
An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
UNC Lineberger is an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. To facilitate discovery and its translation into direct benefit to patients and the general public, the NCI awards Cancer Center Support Grants (CCSGs) to institutions that have a critical mass of excellent cancer-relevant scientific research (see Cancer Center Program: Philosophies and Policies for more information). Cancer Centers must meet six essential characteristics to receive CCSG support. The amount of NCI grant funding held by cancer center members is used to calculate how much CCSG funding an institution can apply for.
Members Participate in Research Programs
Cancer centers promote cancer-focused research through formal scientific Programs. The UNC Lineberger currently has nine programs: Cancer Cell Biology, Immunology, Molecular Therapeutics, Virology, Cancer Genetics, Clinical Research, Cancer Prevention & Control, and Cancer Epidemiology.
Successful programs select individuals for their scientific excellence and, just as importantly, for their commitment to work together. Program members may contribute in any of the four missions of the cancer center - research, education, dissemination, and care. Program members who are predominantly educators or clinical investigators will not necessarily hold peer-reviewed grants, but may contribute to the objectives of the center in other important ways.
Cancer Center Program: Philosophy and Policies
(from NCI Cancer Center Guidelines, 1/05)
The NCI-designated Cancer Centers are the centerpiece of the nation’s effort to reduce morbidity and mortality from cancer. They are a major source of discovery of the nature of cancer, and of development of more effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and therapy. Cancer centers also deliver medical advances to patients and their families, educate health-care professionals and the public, and reach out to under-served populations.
An excellent cancer center is a local, regional, and national resource, directly serving its own community and, by the knowledge it creates, the world at large. NCI’s Cancer Centers facilitate interactions between laboratory, clinical, and population scientists. Comprehensive Cancer Centers serve as models of translational research by facilitating laboratory investigation of clinical observations and developing clinical and public health interventions from fundamental scientific discoveries. To decrease cancer incidence and mortality, Centers link prevention, early detection, treatment, palliation and support for survivors developed and delivered within the Center to health service delivery systems outside the Center via proactive dissemination programs, education of health-care professionals and the public, and service delivery partnerships for under-served populations. Comprehensive Cancer Centers are models of discovery, development, and delivery unparalleled by any other national effort in any disease area.
NCI’s support to its cancer centers is intended to foster excellence in research across a broad spectrum of scientific and medical concerns relevant to cancer. To facilitate discovery and its translation into direct benefit to patients and the general public, the NCI awards CCSGs to institutions that have a critical mass of excellent cancer-relevant scientific research. The CCSG focus on research derives from NCI’s conviction that a culture of discovery, scientific excellence, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and collaboration generates a cascade of tangible benefits extending far beyond the generation of new knowledge.
An NCI center’s research components supported by the CCSG comprise a core for a much larger assembly of cancer activities - clinical care, dissemination and education – extending the benefits of research directly to patients, their families, and the general public and the agencies that serve them. The flexibility inherent in these CCSG guidelines results in the funding of centers with a variety of scientific agendas . NCI expects that centers, particularly those with the comprehensive designation, will develop effective research dissemination strategies to eliminate the disproportionate burden of cancer in minority and other underserved populations.
The Six Essential Characteristics of an NCI-designated Cancer Center (from NCI Cancer Center Guidelines, 1/05)
- Facilities dedicated to the conduct of cancer focused research, and to the center’s shared resources, administration, and research dissemination should be appropriate and adequate to the task.
- Organizational Capabilities for the conduct of research and the evaluation and planning of center activities should take maximum advantage of the parent institution’s capabilities in cancer research.
- Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Collaboration and Coordination: Substantial coordination, interaction, and collaboration among center members from a variety of disciplines should enhance and add value to the productivity and quality of research in the center.
- Cancer Focus: A defined scientific focus on cancer research should be clear from the center members’ grants and contracts, and from the structure and objectives of its programs.
- Institutional Commitment: The center should be recognized as a formal organizational component with sufficient space, positions and resources to insure organizational stability and fulfill the center’s objectives.
- Center Director: The director should be a highly qualified scientist and administrator with leadership experience and institutional authority appropriate to manage the center.
Cancer Center Programs (from NCI Cancer Center Guidelines, 1/05)
A Program comprises the activities of a group of investigators who share common scientific interests and goals and participate in competitively funded research. Programs should be highly interactive and lead to exchange of information, experimental techniques, and ideas that enhance the individual productivity of scientists and often result in collaborations and joint publications. Ultimately, the success of Programs is measured by the emergence of productive collaborations. How this is achieved will vary with the center and the needs of particular Programs. Formal or informal planning meetings, seminars and retreats, developmental funding of selected pilot projects, new shared resources, or key recruitments may be effective ways of promoting increasing levels of interaction. UNC Lineberger has 10 programs.