The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center recently received recognition from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), officially making it the first and only facility in North Texas to hold an NCI designation, the second in the University of Texas System, and one of only 45 cancer centers awarded nationwide in over 4 decades. The prestigious award is accompanied by an $8.1 million grant.
The NCI stringently evaluates cancer centers according to the following criteria. The center must be able to:
- Demonstrate depth and breadth in laboratory research, clinical research, and population-based research,
- Demonstrate strength in transdisciplinary research that bridges scientific fields,
- Serve not only their regional area, but the broader population through cancer research, and
- Integrate training and education of biomedical researchers and health care professionals.
“NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers are among the most advanced in the world,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, and current holder of the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science. “These centers conduct research that leads to new drugs and treatments aimed at improving patient care and, ultimately, saving lives. We are pleased to be among this distinguished group of cancer centers, and to have at UT Southwestern remarkable physicians and scientists who, each day, are working to conquer cancer.”
The Center, originally founded by Harold C. and Annette Simmons and family, owes its enormous success to the very active and generous support of the Dallas community. Since its launch, it has donated over $100 million to UT Southwestern in support of cancer research advancement.
“The initial vision and continuing generosity of the Simmons family have been transformative in ensuring that cancer patients in North Texas and surrounding regions have access to the highest quality of care available anywhere in the country,” Dr. Podolsky said. “We also are extremely grateful to those in our community who have supported the research, technology, and infrastructure that serve as the backbone for this achievement.”
Mrs. Simmons commented about UT Southwestern’s designation: “There is no better reinforcement of an investment in the cure for cancer than this very exclusive designation from the NCI. Our hope has always been that we could make a sustainable difference in the fight against this cruel disease, and the comprehensive designation paves the way for even greater advances in the treatment and cure of cancer. We are very proud of the dedicated members of the UT Southwestern team who have made this honor possible.”
Today, UT Southwestern receives over $100 million worth of research grants every year from the NCI and several other funding agencies, including the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. This designation from the world’s largest cancer research organization is an enormous milestone for UT Southwestern, and proves their commitment to finding a solution to cancer.