The University of Texas M. D. Anderson cancer Center (MDACC) is one of the largest Cancer Centers in the world. Located on the sprawling campus of the University of Texas Medical Center (UTMC) in Houston, the MDACC provides advanced forms of cancer education, prevention, treatment, and research services to the citizens of Texas and the cancer community at large. Created by the Texas legislature in 1941, the MDACC treated approximately 79,000 cancer patients in 2008, and more than 27,000 of these individuals were new patients. The MDACC was rated as the nation’s top hospital for cancer care by U.S. News and World Report in 2008, a rating the Texas institution has been awarded four times over the past six years.
The MDACC treats all forms of adult and pediatric cancer using surgical, chemotherapeutic, radiological, and immunotherapy treatments. The cancer Center is a major center for cancer research, and as such, it offered participation in its many clinical trials to over 11,500 patients in 2007, which makes it the largest clinical trial program of its type in the nation. The cancer Center employs more than 17,000 people, including 1,400 faculty members from the UTMC.
A National Network of Cancer Education, Treatment, and Research Centers
In the early 1960s, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) began to develop a plan for a nationwide network of Cancer Centers, each of which would be allied with a top university. After bringing its plan to Congress, the National Cancer Act (NCA), was passed and signed into law by President Nixon in 1971. Today, the nation benefits from a total of 63 National Cancer Centers that are located in all regions of the country, and out of that number, only 41 have received the NCI designation of ‘Comprehensive cancer Center‘ (CCC). An NCI CCC accreditation is regulated by stringent NCI guidelines and ongoing review, and the MDACC is one of the first three of these CCC institutions in the country.
Cancer Research at the M. D. Anderson cancer Center
A CCC ranking requires a cancer Center to provide the community with advanced forms of cancer research. The MDACC currently ranks first in cancer research funding from the NCI, and the research programs at the Texas institution invested over $410 million in research funding in 2006. The MDACC is currently the beneficiary of 10 Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants in the areas of: bladder; breast; endometrial; head and neck; leukemia; melanoma; ovarian; pancreatic, and prostate cancer. The MDACC operates out of five separate research facilities on the UTMC campus, and the cancer Center is currently involved in the development of the Red and Charlene McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer research facility that represents the largest single expansion of research space in the history of the MDACC. The new facility will be located on the 116 acre University of Texas Research Park and it will accommodate approximately one fourth of the research scientists at the cancer Center. In the past three years, the MDACC has opened the Mitchell Basic Sciences Research Building and the Saberioon Molecular Markers Research Building. The cancer Center currently organizes its research efforts under five areas of scientific investigation, within which MDACC researchers have made a number of significant findings. The five research programs and some of the more notable discoveries are listed below:
* Basic and Laboratory Research: Researchers in this program were instrumental in demonstrating a number of novel concepts relating to metastasis (the uncontrolled spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body). Researchers found that metastasis is not a spontaneous event, and that cellular structures within a tumor have many unique properties that, in conjunction with the microenvironments (surrounding tissues), are now more fully understood with respect to the spread of cancer.
* Detection, Predicting Outcomes, and Risk Assessment: Scientists in this program have shown that a count of the number of cancer cells circulating in the blood can serve as an accurate predictor for the future progression of advanced breast cancers. Increased abilities to form an accurate prognosis allows oncologists to better decide on who should receive more aggressive forms of treatment for the disease.
* Cancer Prevention: Research scientists at the MDACC have developed improved mammography (breast cancer screening) techniques that allow for earlier detection of the disease. Improved medical imaging capabilities are important for those who have breast cancer, as it is one type of cancer that is highly responsive to treatments when detected in its earliest stages. Scientists in this program also concentrate on cancer studies within specific populations to determine what environmental and behavioral factors contribute to increased incidences of cancer.
* Cancer Management and Quality of Life: New developments in this program have led to improvements in the delivery of chemotherapies on an outpatient basis. These findings help to reduce the cost of cancer treatments, while simultaneously improving the delivery of care. This research program was instrumental in the development of cancer fighting drug delivery systems, such as chemotherapy pumps that can be utilized by patients in their home.
* Innovations in Therapy: A number of advancements in cancer patient care have come from this program, including new protected environments and antibiotic regimens that significantly reduce the incidence of microbial infections in those patients suffering from leukemia and other cancers. Other advancements in chemotherapy resulted in increased efficacy and safety for those patients who suffer from diabetes.
Patient Care at the M. D. Anderson cancer Center
Cancer patients receive advanced forms of treatment for all adult cancers in the MDACC‘s 521 bed Alkek Hospital and three outpatient clinics on the main UTMC campus. Additionally, the MDACC, via its affiliations with other healthcare centers located throughout the state of Texas, offers cancer treatments at a total of 25 separate facilities. Children with cancer are primarily treated at the MDACC‘s Children’s Cancer Hospital, a pediatric facility that is housed within the Alkek Hospital, and it is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading Cancer Centers for children. Cancer patients are also provided with a full spectrum of cancer treatment related services such as disease specific support groups, myriad forms of counseling, and community resource information sources.
Contact the M. D. Anderson cancer Center
The main phone number is (713) 792-6161 or call toll-free at (800) 392-1611, and for a more complete phone listing directory or to learn more about the University of Texas M. D. Anderson cancer Center, please visit their website at www.mdanderson.org/
University of Texas M. D. Anderson cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Avenue
Houston, TX 77030
Google map for UTMD Anderson cancer Center