UVA Earns Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation

View of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center at dark

Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications

August 27, 2021

The University of Virginia Cancer Center has been awarded a “Comprehensive Cancer Center” designation, effective Feb. 1, by the National Cancer Institute, the largest funder of cancer research in the world. Centers who achieve this level of recognition must meet the most rigorous standards for innovative research and leading-edge clinical trials.

The UVA Cancer Center’s history of conducting nationally and internationally recognized research, as well as providing highly specialized patient care that spans the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond, has led to recognition as an NCI-designated cancer center for the past 34 years. By earning designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, UVA moves into an elite group of 52 of the most outstanding cancer programs in the nation, and is the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in Virginia. 

To achieve this status, it was necessary to demonstrate:

  • Enhanced depth and breadth of basic, clinical and population research.
  • Enhanced outreach and education to our cancer center’s catchment area and community.
  • Transdisciplinary research that bridges multiple scientific areas, evidenced by the center’s ability to take maximum advantage of research and innovation across UVA.
  • Excellence in training in cancer research.

The process for the Comprehensive Cancer Center designation required submission of a 1,300-page application, followed by a site visit from 14 distinguished scientists and physicians, including leaders of other NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

“This achievement is exemplary of the excellence that UVA Health provides across all disciplines and of our recognition as one of the nation’s top academic health systems,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, executive vice president for health affairs at UVA and chief executive officer of UVA Health. “I want to congratulate our UVA Cancer Center team for this remarkable achievement and for their determination in seeking this recognition.”

UVA Cancer Center comprises 162 faculty members from 25 departments amongst four UVA schools: Medicine, Nursing, Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences. It serves 3.2 million residents from a large catchment area that includes 87 counties throughout Northern, Central, Southside and Southwestern Virginia, as well as eastern West Virginia.

The UVA Cancer Center has grown tremendously over the past several years. Since 2014, patient-care volume has increased by more than 50%, with many patients traveling great distances to access its specialists. Over the last four years, funding for cancer research at UVA has increased 45%, totaling more than $30 million in 2020. During that same period, participation in UVA Cancer Center clinical research has increased by almost 500%, with outreach throughout Virginia and its neighboring states. 

“As the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in Virginia, this recognition signifies our ability to deliver cancer prevention, new discoveries and innovative treatments to our patients, leading to improved quality of life, care and survival,” said Dr. Thomas P. Loughran Jr., director of the UVA Cancer Center. “For all of our patients, this means they benefit from the most exceptional, leading-edge cancer care available.” 

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