A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Comprehensive Cancer Center

Comprehensive Cancer Center
City of Hope has a proud history of excellence in biomedical research, patient-centered medical care, and community outreach.
In recognition of our broad-based innovations in cancer research and treatment, our continuing commitment to compassionate patient care, and our initiatives in patient and community education, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated City of Hope a Comprehensive Cancer Center — the highest level of recognition bestowed by the NCI. City of Hope is one of just a handful of elite institutions nationwide to receive this prestigious honor.
As a division of the National Institutes of Health, the NCI is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training. The NCI's Cancer Center program acknowledges institutions for their scientific excellence, as well as their ability to bring diverse research approaches to the problem of cancer. The "Comprehensive Cancer Center" designation indicates that City of Hope has undergone a rigorous review process and has met or exceeded NCI standards in these areas.
Cancer Center Research Programs
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers and resources are dedicated to developing innovative new disease-fighting strategies in the battle against cancer. Through these programs, and through the mission and vision of City of Hope physicians and scientists, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center will continue to make a difference in the lives of current and potential cancer patients and their loved ones—around the world today and in the future.
All of these activities are made possible by a forward-thinking infrastructure supporting basic and translational research in biological and small molecule cancer therapeutics.

Cancer Center Leadership

Cancer Center Program Co-leaders

Cancer Center Research Programs

City of Hope provides a multidisciplinary, interactive environment where basic, clinical and translational, and prevention and control scientists collaborate closely. This stimulating intellectual environment contributes to the productive translational research under way within the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our research initiatives are divided into the following research programs:
Basic Science Research Program
The Comprehensive Cancer Center provides both the infrastructure and the environment for outstanding basic science research. ("Basic science" refers to research conducted in a laboratory setting.) In turn, this research contributes to our understanding of the underlying genetic, molecular and biological bases of cancer. The basic science research program at City of Hope is called Molecular Oncology (MONC).
Clinical and Translational Research Programs
The Comprehensive Cancer Center's clinical and translational research programs focus on the translation of novel laboratory observations into the treatment of patients (and their families) and, ultimately, throughout the world. The number of the Center's novel (Phases I and I/II) clinical trials increases yearly. The clinical and translational science research programs are:
Prevention and Control Program
Cancer prevention and control research at the Comprehensive Cancer Center is conducted within a program on Cancer Control and Population Sciences (CCPS). The members of this research program cover an extensive spectrum of disciplines, which is further broadened by additional collaborations with physician investigators. Such a confederation of expertise, working within a collaborative environment, maximizes productive interaction. The program focuses on four important areas of concentration:
  • Host and environmental determinants of cancer
  • Health-related outcomes and quality of life after cancer
  • Interventional studies to reduce cancer-related morbidity
  • Educational initiatives
Our five research programs, described above, represent a continuum, as shown in the figure below. Basic and translational studies can originate in either the basic science program,MO or the DCT Program. These studies can then link to phase I and II clinical protocols in all three clinical programs—DCT, CI and HM. They can also integrate into follow-up studies in survivorship and symptom management in the CCPS Program. On this continuum, CI spans both translational and clinical research, whereas HM is predominantly (but not exclusively) clinical. Frequent interaction between the principal investigators of each program ensures maximum benefit from shared insights. All these activities are made possible by City of Hope’s infrastructure, which supports basic and translational research in biological and in small molecule approaches to cancer.

The arrow in the figure below represents our realization that, even as activities move to the right toward clinical realization, there is a strong requirement to recycle back to developmental activities in response to the knowledge we gain in early clinical application. Our scientists are already doing this routinely, aided by our flexible and responsive infrastructure. The CCPS Program also contributes to the cycle by providing downstream information on effects of therapy and also potential prevention and therapeutic targets — findings arising out of survivorship and molecular epidemiological work of CCPS. These findings may then be explored by other programs in the continuum.

General Information About Cancer

What Is Cancer?
Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide and grow abnormally.
Normally, cells throughout the body divide and grow as children's bodies develop, and as adult bodies replace old or injured cells. During this methodical system, new cells form, grow, and stop growing at the appropriate time. When cancer occurs, cell growth becomes uncontrolled. Often, but not always, these cancer cells form into a solid mass called a tumor. Not all tumors are cancerous, however: cancerous tumors are called “malignant,” while non-cancerous tumors are known as “benign.” If the cancerous cells are blood cells, as in leukemia, there is no solid tumor. Early detection and treatment are very important to increasing the patient's chances of recovery.
Cancer can occur in many parts of the body, and can take many different forms. The various forms can behave very differently from one another--they may grow at differing rates, and respond to treatments inconsistently. Cancer can also spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system (this is called metastasis), but the original site of the cancerous cells determines the cancer type.
What Causes Cancer?
The unusual cell growth that brings about cancer is the result of damage to DNA -- the substance inside all cells that directs cell behavior. Damaged DNA can be caused by genetics, by behavior (such as smoking or diet), or by things in the environment (such as air pollutants, radiation or occupational exposure to certain chemicals). Usually, the body can repair damaged DNA, but cancer cells evade this natural process.
Treating Cancer
Cancer is traditionally treated using three types of therapy: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Depending on the type of cancer and its stage (how far the cancer has progressed), your doctor may use one of these methods or a combination of them in order to achieve the best possible result.
Today, in addition to these three approaches, new and promising therapies for cancer are being developed and used. These new approaches include gene therapy and immunotherapy, and may offer new hope to those who have not benefited from conventional treatment methods.
The City of Hope Approach
City of Hope, one of just 41 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, is dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of many different types of cancer. City of Hope has a world-class staff of researchers and physicians who are constantly developing new approaches to treating cancer.Last year, City of Hope conducted more than 300 studies enrolling more than 5,000 patients.
In just one example of our leading-edge research, City of Hope is the first – and currently only – institution in the world to perform a clinical study using genetically-engineered T-cells to recognize and attack glioma, a highly lethal (and unfortunately, quite common) form of brain cancer. Learn more about our treatment approaches.
Cancer Prevention
Through painstaking effort and years of research, scientists have been able to identify many of the causes of cancer. Today, it is believed that about 75 percent of cancer cases are tied in some way to how we live our lives. Since our lifestyle does contribute to the risk of having cancer, prevention often depends on knowing as much as possible about our own risk factors. It’s important to remember that cancer prevention is an ongoing process.
  • Carefully identify lifestyle factors such as smoking, dietary habits, or occupational hazards that might contribute to your risk of developing cancer.
  • Think about which of these lifestyle risk factors you can control.
  • Begin to make simple changes in lifestyle that may help lower your cancer risk. These changes often involve choices that are made every day.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends a cancer-related checkup every three years for people between the ages of 20 to 39 and annually for people age 40 or older.

Additional Information and Resources
This website is designed to provide information about the advanced treatment services and leading biomedical research available at City of Hope.
For general information on all types of cancers, as well as cancer causes and prevention, the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) are excellent sources.
Become a Patient
City of Hope is committed to making the process of becoming a patient here as easy as possible. Call 800-826-HOPE (4673) or complete the online appointment form.

Community Outreach

As a Comprehensive Cancer Center, City of Hope plays an important role in the community. We continually use the knowledge gained from our ongoing research to influence the standards of prevention and care, and to educate physicians, caregivers, and patients alike.

Why Choose A Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Only a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center such as City of Hope offers a full complement of services designed to address all aspects of cancer, from understanding its origins, to developing new therapies and testing them in patient clinical trials, to delivering superior patient care and providing support and education to patients, their families and the public.
City of Hope is one of a select few cancer centers nationwide to have received this prestigious honor. NCI-funded cancer centers must go through a rigorous review process every five years, in which they are evaluated and ranked. Only those conducting the most promising cancer research are awarded Comprehensive Cancer Center status. It is an important credential to consider when choosing a cancer treatment facility.
As a patient, a diagnosis of cancer brings with it many questions and concerns. Choosing a Comprehensive Cancer Center such as City of Hope is an empowering step, equipping you with the best possible resources to fight the disease.
Attributes of a Comprehensive Cancer Center
To achieve the Comprehensive Cancer Center designation, organizations must support a broad range of research programs and approach the problem of cancer in many different ways. Comprehensive Cancer Centers like City of Hope must have strong programs in all of the following areas:
Comprehensive Cancer Centers also play important roles in their communities and regions, and influence the standards of prevention and care.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network Founding Member
Of the relatively few NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, only an elite 21 comprise the National Comprehensive Cancer Network ( NCCN ), an alliance of the nation's leading Comprehensive Cancer Centers that defines and sets standards for cancer care. City of Hope is proud to be a founding member of the NCCN. NCCN member institutions are recognized for their world-renowned experts and for dealing with particularly complex, rare and aggressive forms of cancer. As an NCCN member institution, City of Hope plays a critical role in advancing state-of-the-art cancer treatment through education, research, and patient care. Learn more about the NCCN at www.nccn.org.
Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.

Clinical Trials
Our aggressive pursuit to discover better ways to help patients now – not years from now – places us among the leaders worldwide in the administration of clinical trials.
Learn more about City of Hope's institutional distinctions, breakthrough innovations and collaborations.
Discover the wide range of progressive cancer treatment options at City of Hope designed to meet the individual needs of each patient. Here, medical research and clinical care are integrated, speeding the application of scientific discoveries toward better, more effective patient cancer treatments.
City of Hope Breakthroughs
Get the latest in City of Hope's research, treatment and news you can use on our blog, Breakthroughs.
When you support City of Hope, you help us shorten the time it takes to get from bold, innovative ideas to powerful new medical treatments. Make a gift online now.
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