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In 2007, the year cancer replaced heart disease as North Carolina’s leading cause of death, the N.C. General Assembly created the University Cancer Research Fund (UCRF) to provide ongoing state support for cancer research.

What does it mean? Innovative research to detect, treat and prevent cancer. The opportunity for UNC Lineberger to become home to the nation’s leading public comprehensive cancer center. An even greater ability to continue our tradition of care for all North Carolinians. It’s an investment in making the best care in the world available right here in North Carolina. And it’s hard to think of a better investment than that.

The University Cancer Research Fund’s mission is to save lives and reduce suffering from cancer in North Carolina and beyond. It will accomplish this through:

  • Discovery: Better understanding the causes and course of cancer;
  • Innovation: Using new knowledge to create new and better ways to prevent, find and treat cancer; and
  • Delivery: Improving cancer care, screening, and prevention across the state.


Creation of the University Cancer Research Fund (UCRF) marked the start of a new era in North Carolina. The fund began with $25 million in 2007 and has grown to $59.5 million by 2022 – UNC Lineberger has both a mandate and resources to address our state’s growing cancer problem.

People and place are key to the UCRF’s success. The UCRF is about investing in people – promising researchers with the best ideas for cancer research, master clinicians who know how to bring those findings to patients, and others. UNC Chapel Hill and its UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have a culture of collaboration – both across the University and with partners beyond the University’s walls – that is essential to promote discovery and then turn those discoveries into new ways to treat, find, and prevent cancer.

Most important, however, is the UCRF’s commitment to North Carolina. Currently, one in three North Carolinians will develop cancer during his/her lifetime. One-third of our patients will not live five years after a cancer diagnosis. All of our efforts are dedicated to assuring that future generations of North Carolinians will develop cancer less often and live longer and better when they do. To accomplish this goal, we will extend discoveries statewide through expanded outreach to clinics, health systems and underserved populations.

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