NCI designation is considered the gold standard that defines broad excellence in oncology. Such cancer centers are a major source of discovery of the nature of cancer and of the development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and therapy.
They also deliver medical advances to patients and their families, educate health care professionals and the public, and reach out to under-served populations
The six essential characteristics of an NCI-designated cancer center include:
A cancer center must prove itself capable of making a major contribution to cancer research. Earning NCI designation is an intensive process that usually takes years to attain.
All NCI-designated cancer centers receive substantial financial support from NCI grants and are re-evaluated each time their cancer center support grant comes up for renewal (generally every three to five years).
These awards fund formal research programs that foster interactions between basic laboratory, clinical and population scientists; access for investigators to shared services and technologies that are necessary to their research efforts; and other scientific infrastructure.
Patients receiving care at an NCI-designated cancer center are the first in line for the newest, most promising therapies and laboratory findings. They have more opportunities to take part in clinical trials that test new treatments, and they are able to receive individualized care much closer to home.
NCI designation press release