University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center has received its fourth renewal as a comprehensive cancer center from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The designation is for a five-year period and includes $12.5 million to support cancer research at Holden.
“We are Iowa’s only comprehensive cancer center, the highest designation a cancer center can receive from the NCI,” says George Weiner, MD, director of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. “This funding renewal allows us to continue to serve the state by conducting innovative research that will reduce the burden of cancer for Iowans.”
The grant renewal is based on a rigorous review of all aspects of the cancer center’s research, from basic discovery and preclinical work to clinical trials and population research. The funding supports four research programs, multiple shared research resources, training and education of the next generation of cancer researchers, community outreach and engagement, clinical trials management, development funding, and administration.
Overall, the center was rated outstanding by the reviewers. In addition, Holden received an exceptional rating, the highest designation, for “Transdisciplinary Collaboration and Coordination,” which measures the center’s ability to foster cross-disciplinary research.
Weiner notes that highly collaborative teamwork is the foundation of the cancer center’s long-standing success and its ability to bring the most advanced cancer care to patients across the state and beyond.
“Our strong culture of collaboration and the unique strengths of our diverse research teams allow us to continue to improve cancer care for the people of Iowa,” Weiner says. “For example, cancer patients in Iowa have access to a growing number of early phase clinical trials, including studies based on basic science emerging from Holden labs, that are not available anywhere else.”
Weiner, who is the founding director of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and has led the center for more than two decades, was also rated as exceptional for his role as director and was praised for his “strong, experienced leadership and unwavering commitment.”
For this new, five-year funding period, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center continue to include the entire state of Iowa as its catchment area. In partnership with the Iowa Cancer Consortium, Holden is advancing community outreach and engagement in order to tackle the unique cancer needs of the state, where more than one-third of the population lives in rural areas. In particular, Holden researchers are focusing on important rural and racial/ethnic cancer disparities, as well as obesity-related cancers and cancers related to environmental exposure, which are prevalent.
NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers are recognized for their scientific leadership; depth and breadth of research in basic, clinical, and population science; and impact on their communities. There are only 51 cancer centers designated as comprehensive in the nation. Holden is the only one in Iowa.
Learn more about Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.