National Cancer Institute renews core grant for Karmanos

DETROIT—Officials at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute announced that its National Cancer Institute (NCI) Core Grant has been renewed. This renewal extends Karmanos’ prestigious NCI designation through 2025, making it one of just 51 centers nationwide to receive this designation.

NCI-designated cancer centers are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer. They play a vital role in advancing towards the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer.

“This designation reaffirms what we see at Karmanos every day: that our researchers and clinical staff members are doing outstanding work in their fields,” said Gerold Bepler, M.D., president and CEO of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. “Our NCI designation sets us apart in the fields of cancer research and treatment by showing our patients, colleagues and peers that we are committed to creating a world free of cancer. With this achievement, we are empowered to press forward in the fight against cancer.”

To secure grant renewal, Karmanos submitted a 2,000-page application and underwent a site visit by a panel of experts from across the country. The 2020 visit took place virtually for the first time in history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials said they were particularly proud to report that the work of Karmanos’ Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement (OCHECE), which conducts community-based behavioral research, achieved a perfect score of “exceptional.” Overall, Karmanos exceeded its standing from 2015.

The National Cancer Institute first designated the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center in 1978, when the Institute was called the Meyer L. Prentis Comprehensive Cancer Center of Metropolitan Detroit. It was the first center in Michigan to receive the NCI designation and remains one of only two in Michigan with this title.

To be designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the NCI, a center must:

  • Demonstrate a depth and breadth of cancer research activities in each of three major areas: basic laboratory, clinical and prevention control in population-based science
  • Be effective in serving their catchment area, as well as the broader population, through the cancer research they support and the cancer control activities they undertake
  • Integrate cancer training and education of biomedical researchers and community health care professionals into programmatic efforts to enhance the scientific mission of the center
  • Initiate and conduct early-phase, innovative clinical trials and participate in the NCI’s cooperative groups by providing leadership and recruiting patients for trials
  • Conduct activities in outreach and education and provide information on advances in health care for health care professionals and the public

Karmanos has met these criteria and is pleased to share highlights from our list of accomplishments. In the past five years:

  • Cancer Center members have conducted over 600 clinical trials and enrolled 6,596 patients on interventional trials and 2,797 on treatment trials. Currently, more than 150 investigational therapeutic agents are being studied in a variety of malignancies.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 72 new cancer-specific drugs. Through clinical trials, Karmanos has participated in the approval of 48 of these drugs.

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