- The University of Florida (UF) Health Cancer Center has received the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, making it the 72nd institution in the United States and the fourth in Florida to achieve this recognition.
- The NCI designation acknowledges the center’s accomplishments in cancer research programs, scientific leadership, training initiatives, and community outreach.
- The designation brings annual funding of $2.1 million from the NCI, which will be used to recruit researchers, train future cancer research professionals, and enhance competitiveness for additional research grants.
The University of Florida (UF) Health Cancer Center received National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation this week, becoming the 72nd institution in the United States and just the fourth in Florida to attain the recognition.
The NCI designation acknowledges the UF Health Cancer Center’s fulfillment of certain criteria related to cancer research programs, scientific leadership, training initiatives, and community outreach.
The attainment of the NCI designation was influenced by several factors, including the creation of a collaborative environment comprised of researchers from various disciplines within the university, the recruitment of approximately 60 new members since 2016, an increase in scientific publications — from 369 in 2016 to 746 in 2022, and the provision of nearly $6 million in pilot grants since 2015.
“This is a big deal — and it’s going to make a difference for many of Florida’s families as their loved ones fight cancer,” UF President Ben Sasse said. “This designation keeps UF Health and the UF Health Cancer Center on the cutting edge of research and innovation — and ensures top-notch care.”
With the designation, the NCI will provide annual funding of $2.1 million to the center for the purpose of recruiting additional researchers, training future cancer research professionals, and enhancing UF’s competitiveness in securing additional research grants.
“NCI designation is a momentous development for the UF Health system, recognizing the UF Health Cancer Center’s extraordinary accomplishments in cancer research, clinical care, education, and community outreach,” said president of UF Health David R. Nelson. “This milestone is a strong testament to the advanced, evidence-based cancer care we provide for the patients we serve, and it will ensure we can continue to reach new frontiers in cancer research.”
Since 2016, the center has effectively doubled its peer-reviewed cancer research funding, reaching a total of $48.8 million in grants in 2022. It also saw a doubling of patient participation in new cancer treatments through clinical trials, with 164 trials available to patients across its 23-county coverage area in 2022.
Florida currently bears the second-highest cancer burden in the nation, and the increased funding from the NCI will provide the UF Health Cancer Center with additional resources for clinical trials and improved access to cancer care.
In February, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the Florida Cancer Connect Collaborative, a new treatment initiative intended to streamline cancer care and research for doctors and their patients.
The collaborative, according to DeSantis, encompasses five primary objectives, including obtaining better situational awareness of the current cancer rates and reoccurrence rates. The First Lady cited a two-year lag between the time that data is collected and analyzed, stating an urging need for real-time statistical data.
DeSantis stated that the data collaboration effort will push healthcare institutions to share real-time stats in order to collectively address trends. She also called upon healthcare systems to publish treatment protocols and resulting success rates in order to further innovation in cancer treatment.
The collaborative also seeks to conduct investigations into the best cancer treatment practices currently in use across the nation and how to best implement the findings into healthcare systems across Florida.