January 27, 2023

UW Carbone Cancer Center receives ‘outstanding’ rating from National Cancer Institute

$25 million accompanies renewal to support cancer center work

Madison, Wis. – Reviewers found that UW Carbone Cancer Center’s six program areas — cancer prevention and control, developmental therapeutics, cancer genetics and epigenetics mechanisms, imaging and radiation sciences, tumor microenvironment and human cancer virology – were rated outstanding or outstanding to exceptional. Exceptional is the only rating higher than outstanding.

“Overall, (UW Carbone) has achieved an impressive set of scientific accomplishments with impactful transdisciplinary and translational research that address the cancer burden,” the reviewers said in evaluation notes.

UW Carbone participates in a rigorous review process every five years to maintain its status as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center.

To receive a rating and the $25 million in funding, cancer centers are evaluated on dozens of metrics, including the impacts of research, how much external funding scientists secure and how many patients partake in clinical trials. Reviewers also conduct a site visit to inspect facilities and require cancer centers to give presentations on operations, as well as submit comprehensive metrics and documentation of operations and programming.

These reviews are valuable, and the funding will support critical work to enhance cancer care, research and education, according to Dr. Howard Bailey, director, UW Carbone.

“This review gives UW Carbone unbiased feedback on performance and institutional goals,” Bailey said. “It not only makes sure we are holding ourselves to very high standards, but it also allows us to identify areas of opportunity and plan for future growth.”

Reviewers also gave high marks to one of UW Carbone’s newest initiatives that focuses on enhancing diversity among cancer center members and the leadership team, creating more advancement opportunities for early- to mid-career researchers of diverse backgrounds and increasing mentorship opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

“(UW Carbone) is clearly poised to continue to make significant contributions to cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment in the future,” the reviewers said.

UW Carbone is the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin and one of only 53 nationwide. A comprehensive cancer center combines laboratory research with clinical research and patient care and places a strong emphasis on community outreach, research and prevention efforts that serve a defined area such as the state of Wisconsin.

This renewal comes on the 50th anniversary of UW Carbone’s original designation as a comprehensive cancer center from the NCI. When UW Carbone first earned the title in 1973, it was one of only six NCI-designated comprehensive centers in the United States.

“Our cancer center has a significant history of groundbreaking research that has advanced cancer research, prevention and treatment,” Bailey said. “While we celebrate our many accomplishments over the past 50 years, we remain focused on what the future holds. Our potential is endless.”