Cancer Treatment and Research at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa
The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC) at the University of Iowa (UI) provides the citizens of Iowa, the Midwest and beyond with advanced cancer education, treatment, and research services. The HCCC is staffed by oncologists and other cancer care and research professionals from 38 departments in six colleges throughout the UI campus.
The Holden Cancer Center was founded in 1980, and in the year 2000, the Iowa medical and research complex received official recognition from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and received its federal designation of Cancer Center (CC). Shortly thereafter, the HCC received the NCI designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), a ranking that has only been granted to 41 of the 63 National Cancer Centers in the country.
All CCC accredited Cancer Centers are subject to ongoing review from the NCI, and in 2005, the UI HCCC had its ‘Comprehensive’ rating renewed. In addition to providing cancer-related services at its UI campus locations, the HCCC serves the population of the region at large through a variety of community outreach programs.
A National Network of Cancer Education, Treatment, and Research Centers
In the early 1960s, the NCI realized that there existed a need for a cohesive, national, and aggressive approach to the ever growing prevalence of cancer in the United States. The NCI developed an innovative plan to establish National Cancer Centers throughout the country, each of them providing advanced cancer services through an alliance with a major university. The NCI brought their plan to Congress, and in 1971, the National Cancer Act (NCA) was drafted and signed into law.
The NCI’s comprehensive cancer-related services initiative resulted in the coast to coast network of Cancer Centers that exist today. Eligibility for an NCI CC or CCC designation is governed by stringent guidelines and ranking criteria that dictate a level of cancer services excellence that must be met by any medical institution seeking an NCI endorsement. Additionally, all cancer centers are subject to ongoing review by the NCI, and periodic renewals of an NCI accreditation are required.
Cancer Research at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
Cancer research at the HCCC is organized under six areas of scientific study that are categorized and identified below:
- Cancer Immunology and immunotherapy: Faculty researchers at the HCCC focus on the core functions of the immune system. This critical area of investigation seeks new and better way to understand the immune system implications in cancer, and how best to influence and/or manipulate the body’s own cancer fighting mechanisms to manage or cure the disease.
- Cell Signaling and Developmental Pharmacology: This branch of cancer research utilizes an ever growing fund of knowledge relevant to cell biology on a molecular level. Cellular signaling and cell cycle control are investigated to determine which pharmacological compounds may achieve a desired result when it comes to managing the uncontrolled cell growth typically associated with cancer.
- Free Radical Cancer Biology: The focus here is on the atoms, molecules or ions known as free radicals. Due to the specific molecular or atomic makeup of these free radicals, they can figure prominently in a wide variety of chemical reactions that are suspect in the formation and growth of cancer cells. A clear understanding of these chemical reactions, and how they may be manipulated or controlled through the use of pharmacological therapies, is the goal.
- Tumor Imaging: This program promotes interdisciplinary research that seeks to best utilize today’s sophisticated medical imaging (MI) techniques when applied to bench or clinical studies of cancer. When it comes to cancer research, the implications and advantages of medical imaging are many, and an optimal integration of MI and cancer study protocols is considered by many to be critical to the management and eventual cure of the disease.
- Cancer Epidemiology: The University of Iowa College of Public Health collaborates here with the HCCC in a joint effort to study the cancer population in all parts of the state of Iowa. The studies seek to identify the incidences of cancer and related mortalities to identify better ways to increase cancer survival rates while improving quality of life.
- Cancer Genetics and Computational Biology: Genetics now play an important role in many forms of cancer research, and the focus here is to use an ever increasing knowledge of the genetic causes of cancer to increase prevention and develop better cancer treatments, as well as to one day, finally arrive at a cure.
Patient Care at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
Cancer–related services are provided to patients and their families at the John and Mary Pappajohn Clinical Cancer Center at the UI campus’ Pappajohn Pavilion, the Breast Imaging Area, the Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation unit at the Roy Carver Pavilion, and the UI campus’ Center for Excellence. Cancer research is carried out at various locations across the UI campus, though, many research initiatives are centered at the Roland and Ruby Holden Cancer Research Laboratories, which are annexed to the UI Medical Education and Research Facility.
When it comes to patient care, a potentially significant treatment option is made available to a select group of HCCC cancer patients who are considered for participation in one the Cancer Center’s ongoing clinical trials. Those patients who are chosen for inclusion in any clinical trial or study will have undergone a rigorous examination of their medical condition before a clinical trial is oncologist recommended.
The HCCC also provides its patients and their families with a wide variety of ancillary cancer support services that include cancer education, hospice affiliations and information, psychological, grief, and religious counseling, information on nearby lodging and dining, financial and insurance information. The HCC also provides patients and families with numerous support groups that focus on the specific cancer implications for men’s and women’s health, as well as organizations that focus on the special implications of cancer in children and adolescents.
Contact the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
The main operator phone number is (319) 353-8620, and for a more complete phone listing directory or to learn more about the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, please visit their website at www.uihealthcare.com
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242-1002