IU Simon Cancer Center lands $13.8M grant, comprehensive cancer center designation

Indiana University Simon Cancer Center has won a five-year, $13.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, along with recognition as a comprehensive cancer center, one of just 51 in the nation and the only one in Indiana.

The Indiana University School of Medicine announced the news Tuesday morning. Dr. Douglas Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, was to attend the event in Indianapolis.

The federal designation recognizes centers for their scientific leadership in laboratory and clinical research, in addition to serving their communities and the broader public.

California has eight comprehensive cancer centers, the most of any state. In this region, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan have two each.

“This prestigious designation by the National Cancer Institute demonstrates that IU remains at the very leading edge of innovations in cancer care,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a written 0statement.

Although IU now has the only comprehensive cancer center in Indiana, Purdue University has a National Cancer Institute designation as a basic laboratory, one of seven in the nation, that are focused primarily on laboratory research.

IU said the grant will support its cancer research programs and facilities. The center has nearly 250 researchers who conduct all phases of cancer research, from laboratory studies and clinical trials to population-based studies that address environmental and behavioral factors that contribute to cancer.

The amount of the grant is 43% higher than the previous five-year funding period, IU said.

Overall, the Simon Cancer Center received an “outstanding” rating by NCI reviewers, who cited “very well-designed community outreach efforts.” That includes initiatives to increase HPV vaccination rates as well as developing interventions to increase screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in racially diverse and rural populations.

The Simon Cancer Center opened in 2008 at a cost of $150 million. It was funded in part by a $25 million gift from late shopping mall magnate Melvin Simon and his wife, Bren.

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