University of Colorado Cancer Center receives prestigious designation


University of Colorado Cancer Center remains in distinguished company having received a prestigious designation from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This is the fourth time the CU Cancer Center has been named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the NCI – one of only 41 cancer centers in the United States to receive the designation. It also is one of only a handful of comprehensive cancer centers that have the "consortium" designation- meaning the center embraces multiple universities. In this case, those universities are University of Colorado Denver, University of Colorado-Boulder and Colorado State University.

The CU Cancer Center underwent a rigorous review process in June 2011 and it is the only NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Colorado. There is no other NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center within an 850 mile radius of the Denver metro area.

"We are honored to receive the NCI designation to continue to bring the best in cancer research and care to the metro area, Colorado and beyond," said Dan Theodorescu, M.D., Ph.D., director of the CU Cancer Center. "This designation means we are among the ‘best of the best’ - without peer here in Colorado. We are proud to bring that level of care to our community, while continuing to research and develop clinical trials that keep our patients living longer." This recognition comes on the heels of the U.S. News and World Report rankings placing the CU Cancer Center among the top 35 cancer centers in the United States.

The CU Cancer Center first received its NCI designation in 1987 as a clinical cancer center. In 1997, it received its "comprehensive" designation and in 2005, its "consortium" designation. In order to achieve designation as a comprehensive cancer center, the NCI has strict, demanding standards including expertise in laboratory, clinical, and behavioral and population-based research.

"Our investigators lead the way in identifying cancer targets and biomarkers and in developing personalized medicine for our patients. The CU Cancer Center is an invaluable resource for cancer patients and their families in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region," Theodorescu said. "Anyone can use the term cancer center, but the designation as a "comprehensive cancer center" from the NCI sets us apart from every other cancer center in Colorado."

Outcomes (click link to see comprehensive report) in patients with some types of cancer are better than state and national averages at CU Cancer Center. For example, the five year survival rate for people with advance stage non-small cell lung cancer is more than double the national average.

The CU Cancer Center is headquartered on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and is a consortium of three state universities (Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder and University of Colorado Denver) and six health delivery institutions: University of Colorado Health System (including University of Colorado Hospital, Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies), Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, Denver VA Medical Center, National Jewish Health and Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

The NCI re-designation lasts for five years and provides a budget of approximately $18 million over that time period.