Nationally recognized and ranked as one of the country’s leading Cancer Centers by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Chicago Medical Center Cancer Program (UCMCCP) is an integral part of the Chicago hospital’s comprehensive approach to medical care. In addition to the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) affiliation, the Cancer Program is also closely allied with the UC’s Pritzker School of Medicine, the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital, the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, and the soon to be completed Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery.
The UCMCCP provides advanced forms of cancer prevention, education, diagnosis, treatment, and research services to the citizens of Chicago and the worldwide cancer community at large, including those with mesothelioma. Staffed by faculty physicians, health care support personnel, and cancer researchers from the School of Medicine and numerous UC Departments, the Cancer Center is one of only two such institutions in the state of Illinois. The UCMC offers cancer patients the resources of a teaching hospital that employs approximately 9,500 people, including 700 attending physicians, 600 residents, and over 1,000 nurses.
A National Network of Cancer Education, Treatment, and Research Centers
Established in 1937, under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was designated as the chief cancer research agency in the country. In the early 1960s, the NCI recognized the growing need for a nationwide coalition of cancer centers that would be located in all regions of the United States. The NCI plan called for each cancer center to be in a direct affiliation with one of the country’s top universities, and as a result of subsequent Congressional lobbying efforts by the NCI, the National Cancer Act (NCA) was passed and signed into law by President Nixon in 1971.
The NCA provided the legislative and funding authority for the 63 National Cancer Centers that exist in America today, out of which, 41 have been granted the NCI accreditation of ‘Comprehensive Cancer Center’ (CCC). The UCMCCP earned its CCC designation by meeting or exceeding strict NCI guidelines and performance criteria that requires the delivery of the most advanced cancer services available today.
Cancer Research at the University of Chicago Medical Center Cancer Program
The UCMCCP is a nationally recognized center for cancer research that is staffed by over 200 UC faculty scientists that conduct wide ranging scientific investigations into the prevention, cause, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. As with every cancer research program, an eventual cure for the disease is always the ultimate goal. Researchers at the UCMCCP will soon have available to them the under-construction Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, a first of its kind research facility that will provide scientists with over 330,000 square feet of space that will be dedicated entirely to studies devoted to the improvement of the health of children. Cancer researchers will utilize the new facility to study pediatric cancers while seeking to develop novel therapies to prevent and treat the disease. Currently, cancer research at the Chicago institution is organized under the broad research programs noted below:
- Cell Signaling and Gene Regulation: Studies that focus on healthy and cancerous cellular mechanisms, the parallels and differences closely examined by researchers who seek to better understand cell communications (signaling) and expression. Increased knowledge of these mechanisms are believed to be key to the development of new therapies and an ultimate cure for cancer.
- Molecular Genetics and Hematopoiesis: Researchers in this program concentrate on the discovery of genetic markers that give scientists a better understanding of the onset and progression of blood diseases such as leukemia and lymphomas. Translational research utilizes new findings to develop novel and experimental hematological disease therapies, as well as to discover new ways to diagnose the disease.
- Immunology and Cancer: Scientists involved in these studies examine the relationship between the immune system and malignant tumors. Increased knowledge of the myriad immune system interactions with cancer cells is expected to reveal new insights into the onset and growth of cancerous tumors.
- Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics: Interdisciplinary studies that focus on the development of increased interaction and communication between bench (laboratory) and clinical (patient-involved) researchers. A closer collaboration between the two disciplines will result in improved methods of translating new findings into safe and effective clinical tools.
- Advanced Imaging: Scientists here are charged with the task of utilizing extraordinary advances in medical imaging (MI) in the research fight against cancer. Existing and emerging MI technologies are studied to determine how to best incorporate them into a bench and clinical cancer research setting.
- Cancer Risk and Prevention: Wide ranging, interdisciplinary studies that examine a host of cancer risk factors such as behavioral (tobacco use), environmental (exposure to asbestos), and genetic risk factors amongst specific populations. The goal here is to better understand the many predictable pathways for cancer while finding novel ways to increase early detection, control, and prevention of the disease.
Patient Care at the University of Chicago Medical Center Cancer Program
As an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UC Medical Center Cancer Program treats all types of adult and pediatric cancers at the UC campus Medical Center hospital and the Children’s Hospital. Faculty oncologists and healthcare support personnel utilize the latest surgical, chemotherapeutic, and radiological cancer treatments in the state-of-the-art medical facility. Cancer care at the Chicago institution has been recognized nationally for advances in: chemotherapy (the UC is considered by many to be the birthplace of chemotherapy); bone marrow transplants (BMT)-the nation’s first BMT was performed at the University of Chicago in 1940; robotic surgery for less invasive surgical procedures, and innovative and safer uses of radiation.
Cancer patients and their families at the UCMCCP are also served by the UC Medical Center’s Cancer Resource Center, an in-hospital, American Cancer Society affiliated program that provides patients and families with wide ranging forms of cancer support services such as: myriad forms of counseling on the countless issues that can be associated with cancer; disease information; support groups; logistical support for lodging, dining, etc.; financial information services; hospice and home care information; community-based cancer information services and more.
Contact the University of Chicago Medical Center Cancer Program
The main phone number is (773) 702-100 or call toll-free 1-888-UCH-0200, and for a more complete phone listing directory or to learn more about the University of Chicago Medical Center Cancer Program, please visit their website at www.uchospitals.edu/
The University of Chicago Medical Center
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
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