With the addition of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has grown to 33 academic centers across the United States.
The nonprofit NCCN was originally founded in 1995 with 13 member institutions. The cancer centers contribute multidisciplinary subject matter experts to 61 different panels determining the latest evidence-based expert consensus recommendations for risk assessment, prevention, evaluation and treatment, surveillance, supportive care, and survivorship throughout the cancer care continuum.
NCCN’s members work together in a variety of ways to define and advance high-quality, high-value, patient-centered cancer care globally. One key area of activity is maintaining the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, which are updated at least once a year to reflect the very latest data and best practices.
“UChicago is a recognized leader in cancer care that will bring numerous strengths to our network,” said Robert W. Carlson, M.D., CEO of NCCN, in statement.“We were particularly impressed with their substantial work improving outcomes for underserved populations and longtime commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. They serve an ethnically and economically diverse population and have a history of higher-than-average rates of Black patients taking part in clinical trials. Their work also includes a focus on cancer prevention through tobacco control and HPV control programs. We look forward to working with them as we continue to focus on our mission of helping all people with cancer live better lives.”
The UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center uses a broad array of innovative educational, training, clinical, and research programs all characterized by a particular focus on increasing the presence of underrepresented populations in oncology and better understanding and serving their catchment area population. These include training and mentorship programs for students at all levels starting in high school, as well as partnerships with numerous community programs throughout their area.
Additionally, the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center was designated as a National Cancer Institute cancer center in 1974 and earned the comprehensive cancer center designation in 2008. It has been recognized for genetic classification of hematologic malignancies and for pioneering risk-adapted therapies. The UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center also has a long history of major contributions to drug development and early-phase clinical trials.
“We are thrilled to join NCCN, which means our renowned faculty will contribute to evidence-based cancer treatment guidelines, research and education that will have an impact on patient care in the country and across the world,” said Kunle Odunsi, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a statement. Odunsi also is the Dean for Oncology in the Biological Sciences Division; and The AbbVie Foundation Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago. “We need to have better cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment for our communities, especially those that are underserved and face some of the worst cancer disparities.”