The Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC) is located on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. The Cancer Center’s parent institutions are the Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH) and the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM). The SCCC is staffed by over 350 faculty physicians, support health professionals, and research scientists from the School of Medicine and numerous other departments of the University.
The SCCC provides advanced forms of cancer education, treatment, and research to the cancer community at large, and it is the only Cancer Center of its type in the state of Missouri. The SCCC treats all forms of cancer at its BJH facility and in its state-of-the-art outpatient facility that was completed in 2001. The SCCC also provides its cancer fighting services at its satellite locations, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and Barnes Jewish-St. Peters Hospital in Creve Coeur and St. Charles County respectively.
The Siteman Cancer Center sees approximately 8,000 newly diagnosed patients annually, and its research and training scientists utilize over $130 million in grants while sponsoring more than 350 clinical trials-the SCCC also collaborates with other Cancer Centers across the country in its fight against the disease.
A National Network of Cancer Education, Treatment, and Research Centers
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), is a federally funded cancer research and development agency that was established in 1937, and it is one of eight components of the National Health Institutes, an organization that falls under the aegis of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In the early 1960s, the NCI formulated a plan that would establish a national network of Cancer Centers that would be closely affiliated with America’s leading universities, and as a result, the National Cancer Act (NCA) was passed by Congress and signed into law in 1971. The NCA serves as the foundation for the coast to coast network of Cancer Centers in the United States today, and of the 63 such institutions, only 41 have been granted the NCI designation of ‘Comprehensive Cancer Center’ (CCC). A CCC rating is only awarded to Cancer Centers that offer advanced cancer services in strict accordance with firmly established NCI guidelines and performance criteria.
Cancer Research at the Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center
The SCCC is recognized nationally for its bench (laboratory) and clinical (patient related) cancer research programs, as well as for its numerous clinical trials that are available to a select group of patients at the St. Louis medical complex. All Cancer Centers typically restrict their areas of scientific investigation to certain core research projects, and the SCCC research initiatives are as outlined below:
- Cancer and Developmental Biology Program (CDBP): This branch of scientific study seeks to capitalize on the hypothesis that many types of cancer originate from flaws in the regulatory mechanisms of cells. Research on the cellular level has focused at times on embryonic cell formation, and over the years, the CDPB has identified a number of oncogenes that are believed to be responsible for the formation of certain malignancies.
- Cancer Genetics: This branch of research focuses on the belief that all cancers have an identifiable genetic origin. Wide ranging studies seek to identify the mechanisms by which these genetic-oftentimes inherited-influences lead to cancer in one patient and not another. It is hoped that findings in the genetic field of cancer research will lead to better methods of early detection through genetic testing, as well as cancer prevention and advanced therapies for the disease.
- Cellular Proliferation: Cancer may best be described, in the simplest of terms, as uncontrolled cell growth that leads to malignant disease. The cellular proliferation component of the SCCC’s research program focuses on the related issues of DNA repair, cell death, cell cycle control, and the myriad number of cellular changes caused by genetics and/or a variety of environmental factors.
- Hematopoeitic Development and Malignancy (HDM): Hematopoeitic cells are essentially stem (embryonic) cells that form the basis for all blood types, and unexplained mutations in these cells are the focus of the HDM research program that concentrates on blood diseases such as acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplasia, and multiple myeloma.
- Oncologic Imaging (OI): Modern medical imaging (MI), and how to best apply the technology to wide ranging clinical studies is the focus here. A never ending series of advances in MI technologies present bench and clinical scientists with a number of challenges when it comes to integrating the latest MI developments into various cancer research initiatives.
- Prevention and Control: The research concentration here is on how to take full advantage of current research findings that relate to the environmental causes of cancer, such as smoking, exposure to asbestos, etc., when it comes reducing mortalities through cancer prevention behaviors, methods of early detection, and new therapies.
- Translational and Clinical Research: Translational research generally refers to the development of cancer fighting therapies based on the findings of other researchers. Through clinical trials and other patient related studies, researchers attempt to ‘translate’ new discoveries into safe and effective cancer treatments.
- Tumor Immunology: This area of study focuses on understanding immune system functions and their relationship to both the formation and control of malignant disease in varying populations.
Patient Care at the Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center
Patients at the SCCC can expect to receive advanced treatment for all forms of adult and pediatric cancer at the Siteman inpatient and outpatient facilities on and off the university campus. Oncology specialists and support staff work closely with patients and the various research scientists at the SCCC to ensure that the latest developments in cancer care is provided. For some patients, participation in one of the Cancer Center’s clinical trials is offered as a viable treatment option. Additionally, the SCCC offers patients a variety of support services such as community outreach programs, cancer counseling, education, and logistical assistance with lodging, dining, other available community services, and financial and insurance information assistance.
Contact the Alvin J. Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center
To make an appointment, call (314) 747-7222 or toll-free (800) 600-3606, and for a more complete phone listing directory or to learn more about the Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center, please visit their website at www.siteman.wustl.edu/
Siteman Cancer Center
600 S. Euclid Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
Google map for Siteman Cancer Center