In 1940, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM), the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research was established as the nation’s first university affiliated cancer research center. This early scientific initiative served as the foundation for the University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center (UW Carbone Cancer Center [UWCCC]). In the nearly 70 years since the establishment of the McArdle Laboratory, the UWCCC has grown into a nationally recognized center for the delivery of advanced cancer prevention, education, treatment, and research services. The Cancer Center is the only institution of its type in Wisconsin, and it serves cancer patients from all regions of the United States and around the world.
The UWCCC is closely affiliated with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and the Cancer Center is staffed by over 250 faculty physicians and approximately 2,300 research scientists from the medical school and numerous other departments of the university. The UWCCC oversees approximately 20,000 cancer patient visits annually at its Madison campus UW Hospital and Clinics, the William S. Middleton Veteran Administration Hospital, and other satellite health care facilities located throughout the state and beyond.
A National Network of Cancer Education, Treatment, and Research Centers
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is one of eight divisions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and it is the chief cancer research agency of the federal government. In the early 1960s, after recognizing a clear need for a national coalition of cancer centers in this country, the NCI began to develop a plan for such a network. The NCI plan called for each individual Cancer Center to be in an alliance with a leading university, and as a result of the NCI’s efforts, the National Cancer Act (NCA) was signed into law by President Nixon in 1971.
The NCA has resulted in the 63 National Cancer Centers that are located in all parts of the country today, and of this number, 41 have been awarded the NCI accreditation of ‘Comprehensive Cancer Center’ (CCC). A CCC ranking is governed by stringent NCI guidelines and performance criteria for the delivery of advanced cancer services, and the UWCCC is one of the first 6 Cancer Centers to have received the CCC designation-that ranking achieved by the UW Carbone Cancer Center in 1973.
Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center
Cancer research is an integral component of each of the NCI Cancer Centers, and the research programs at the UWCCC are recognized nationally for their contribution to the ongoing fight against cancer. The UWCCC currently conducts wide ranging research efforts designed to develop novel ways to prevent, detect, treat, and eventually, cure cancer. The UWCCC received approximately $155 million in research grants for the fiscal year 2007, funding that was distributed amongst researchers from 55 departments and 9 schools within the UW. Today, the UWCCC organizes its research initiatives under seven separate areas of scientific investigation that are briefly summarized below:
- Cancer Cell Biology: Research scientists in this program focus on the cellular systems and mechanisms such as the myriad forms of cell signaling that regulates growth, proliferation, cell death, and related immune system reactions and interactions that lead to the presence of malignant disease.
- Cancer Control: Scientific investigations into behavioral and environmental factors that increase the incidence of cancer in specific populations. Researchers examine the affect of behavioral changes such as smoking cessation, as well as issues such as aging, cancer education and communication, better therapies for cancer care, and cancer control through supportive oncology.
- Cancer Genetics: The focus here is on attaining increased knowledge of the relationships between genotype (organisms that carry a complete hereditary inventory) and phenotype (an organism’s actual observed properties). Human and animal studies in this program strive to better understand inherited components of cancer in an effort to better diagnose and treat the disease.
- Chemoprevention: Researchers in this program, among other aspects of cancer investigation, seek to identify risk factors for cancer, such as specific population predispositions to the disease, as well as behavioral, environmental, and other factors that contribute to malignant disease. Translational researchers use these findings to develop novel drugs or vaccines to prevent cancer.
- Experimental Therapeutics: Translational research that seeks to ‘translate’ bench or laboratory findings into safe and effective clinical therapies to improve patient care and overall quality of life.
- Human Cancer Virology: Scientific investigation with a focus on the virus related cancers such as those that are associated with the HIV virus or AIDS. Viral functions are crucial to the growth of most virus related cancers, and a better understanding of how to inhibit these viral functions holds the promise of finding novel ways to prevent or cure many types of cancer.
- Imaging and Radiation Sciences: The goal here is to translate medical imaging and radiological advances (studying varying forms of radiation) into useful laboratory and clinical tools to improve cancer prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of malignant disease.
Patient Care at the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center
The UW Carbone Cancer Center treats all forms of adult and pediatric cancer using the latest in surgical, chemotherapeutic, and radiological therapies and techniques. Most patients receive care at the UWCCC’s UW Hospitals and Clinics and the Middleton Veteran Administration Hospital on the main Madison campus. The UW Hospital and Clinics ranks consistently in the top 25 of the 50 hospitals that are listed in U.S. News and World Report’s annual grouping of “America’s Best Hospitals”.
Due to the extensive amount of cancer research on the UW campus, a select group of patients are offered access to one of the many clinical trials that are ongoing at the Cancer Center. Additionally, cancer patients and their families are provided with numerous support services that include all forms of cancer related counseling, hospice and home care resource information, disease specific support groups that meet on and off campus, and a wide range of community-based cancer related services.
Contact the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center
The main phone number is (608) 263-8600, and for a more complete phone listing directory or to learn more about the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, please visit their website at www.cancer.wisc.edu/
The University of Wisconsin
Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792-6164
Google map for Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center