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CONTACT: ARIANNE NARDO
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e-mail: anardo@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu

Release: July 17, 2000

UI Cancer Center named National Cancer Institute-designated center

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Cancer Center officially has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as an NCI-designated cancer center, a mark of distinction given to a select group of cancer centers nationwide, officials said today.

With this designation, the UI Cancer Center joins only 59 cancer centers in the United States that have achieved excellence in cancer care, research and education.

"This is a very exciting development that opens a lot of new doors for us and for our patients," said George Weiner, M.D., director of the UI Cancer Center. "NCI-designated cancer centers collaborate to create new and innovative approaches to cancer research and to effectively move this research from the laboratory into clinical trials and into clinical practice."

As an NCI-designated cancer center, the UI Cancer Center will have even greater ability to collaborate with researchers and specialists from other NCI institutions to share findings and advancements in the treatment and understanding of cancer. These relationships will enrich the UI Cancer Center's multidisciplinary approach, and ultimately benefit Iowa patients who have more access to the latest treatments through clinical trials developed here and at other centers around the country.

"We are extremely proud and grateful for the honor to be an NCI-designated cancer center," said Mary Hendrix, Ph.D., the UI Cancer Center's deputy director and associate director for basic research. "This new distinction will provide enriched opportunities for patient care, cancer research and oncology training."

"I'm thrilled that the University of Iowa, an institution which has achieved excellence in the area of cancer research, is receiving recognition as a NCI-designated cancer center," said Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin. "Increased funding for cancer research has always been a priority for me as the former chairman and now ranking member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. I plan to continue to fight for funding to increase resources to win the war against cancer. Gaining NCI designation is a step closer towards achieving that goal."

State-of-the-art technology, novel therapies and techniques will be even more effectively supported in the future through additional funding the NCI provides its cancer centers. These funds, when combined with the aid of private donations and other grants, will allow the UI Cancer Center to better attract additional world-class physicians and medical professionals to Iowa.

In addition, as an NCI-designated cancer center, the UI Cancer Center will provide students with richer training experiences that will prepare them for their fields.

"All these benefits translate into even more excellence in the care of our patients and in our cancer prevention efforts across the state and around the region," Weiner said. "It means that we can offer even more as a cancer care facility."

The announcement follows a year-long review process conducted by the NCI. The concept of NCI-designated cancer centers originated with the National Cancer Act of 1971, which supported the nation's commitment to reduce cancer rates and improve patient survival.

The UI Cancer Center, a component of University of Iowa Health Care, was established in 1980, and includes 100 clinical faculty and 140 researchers from 29 departments and six colleges associated with University of Iowa Health Care.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.