The Vermont Cancer Center (VCC) at the University of Vermont (UVM), which was founded in 1791 and is one of the oldest universities in the nation, is an academic medical center that was once chiefly located on the UVM campus in Burlington, Vermont. However, in July of 2001, the VCC relocated all of its core laboratory facilities into the new Health Science Research Building on the Burlington campus of the VCC’s closely affiliated UVM College of Medicine.
The VCC is in a direct affiliation with the not-for-profit Fletcher Allen Health Care, which is an academic, teaching hospital healthcare organization. The consolidation of the VCC research programs on the medical school campus was made possible by a $3 million federal grant that was secured for the Cancer Center by Senator James Jeffords in 2000.
Since its establishment in 1974, the VCC has provided cancer patients in Vermont and Northern and Northeastern New York with advanced forms of cancer prevention, education, treatment, and research services. In 1995, the VCC’s Medical Center Hospital of Vermont allied itself with the Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester, Vermont, as well as with the University Health Center, which is the Burlington faculty practice group of the college-this amalgam of alliances combined to form the Fletcher Allen Health Care system. The VCC is staffed by over 100 faculty physicians, support health care personnel, and research scientists from numerous departments within the university.
Cancer Research at the Vermont Cancer Center
While the VCC is a smaller-sized, regional Cancer Center that is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) network of Cancer Centers, the medical institution has, nevertheless, made significant contributions to the cancer research community at large. Research scientists, both bench (laboratory) and clinical (patient involved), at the VCC, in collaboration with faculty physicians, have been instrumental in the development of novel and innovative cancer fighting techniques that include:
- Revolutionary new biopsy procedures that have been widely adopted by the cancer diagnosis community.
- Quality of life improving discoveries relating to a rare pediatric cancer.
- Important studies on how the cholesterol reducing drugs, statins, may increase the risk for cancer.
- Significant findings that contribute to the overall body of knowledge pertaining to inherited risk factors for breast cancer.
- Quality of life improvements for cancer patients by having discovered novel ways to reduce the harmful side effects of select cancer treatments.
Additionally, cancer research programs at the VCC are currently organized under the four areas of scientific investigation as outlined below:
- Cancer Prevention and Control Research: A multidisciplinary research program that, among other areas of interest, examines behaviors such as smoking that lead to an increased incidence of cancer. The program also focuses on prevention of breast cancer through enhanced and increased screenings, earlier diagnosis, and novel therapies for the disease.
- Clinical Research: Translational research-studies that ‘translate’ scientific findings into safe and effective patient therapies. VCC bench and clinical scientists work closely with physicians to develop novel treatments for cancer through collaborations with neighboring health care organizations such as: the Vermont Center for Cancer Medicine; Mountain View Medical at Central Vermont Medical Center; Copley Hospital, and Glens Falls (New York) Hospital.
- Cell Signaling and Growth Control Research: Investigative studies on the cellular and molecular level that seek to better understand the means by which cells self-regulate growth through myriad signaling (communication) mechanisms. Cell-cycles, molecular switches, checkpoints, regulating pathways, and other systems are examined. Researchers seek to uncover the complex ways in which malignant disease stems from unchecked and uncontrolled cell growth-findings that are translated into new and experimental ways to prevent, diagnose, predict the course of, and treat cancer.
- Genome Stability and Progression Program: Studies that focus on the factors that contribute to DNA damage, repair, and expression. Scientists seek to better understand the mutations of genes due to environmental factors, as well as endogenous (arising from within) mechanisms that interact with cellular microenvironments (surrounding tissue).
Patient Care at the Vermont Cancer Center
The VCC offers advanced cancer treatments at its Fletcher Allen Health Care Hospital that provide patients with: hematology/oncology; surgical oncology; radiation oncology; gynecologic oncology; dermatologic oncology-all of which are augmented by the Fletcher Allen’s Patient Support Program. In its affiliation with Fletcher Allen, the VCC is currently developing new, multidisciplinary cancer care centers that will provide single location access to treatments for breast, upper gastrointestinal, lung, and skin cancers.
The VCC treats adult and pediatric cancers utilizing a full spectrum of cancer fighting techniques at its new, state-of-the-art UVM campus Fletcher Allen Hospital. Cancer patients and their families are also provided with a host of cancer related services such as: disease specific support groups (both within and outside the confines of the VCC); hospice affiliations; cancer counseling services including psychosocial, psychological, emotional, grief, genetic, ethics, men’s and women’s health; pastoral/clerical/spiritual, and specialized pediatric counseling services. The VCC also provides patients with community-based information on lodging, dining, and other logistical patient/family support resources.
Contact the Vermont Cancer Center
The main toll-free phone number is (877) 540-HOPE (877-540-4673) or call (802) 656-4414, and for a more complete phone listing directory or to learn more about the Vermont Cancer Center, please visit their website at www.vermontcancercenter.org/
Vermont Cancer Center at the University of Vermont
E-213 Given Building
89 Beaumont Avenue
Burlington, VT 05405
Google map for Vermont Cancer Center