The Siteman Cancer Center has joined the highest-ranking cancer research and treatment institutions with a designation by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.
This distinction recognizes Siteman’s broad-based research, outreach and educational activities — and provides Siteman with research funding of $21 million.
“This designation is acknowledgement that the people of the St. Louis region have access to novel cancer therapies and cutting-edge research,” said Timothy J. Eberlein, M.D., director of the Siteman Cancer Center. “It also adds to the $130 million in cancer research grants already held by researchers and clinicians affiliated with Siteman.
“This research will lead to improved strategies for cancer prevention, detection and treatment and help reduce the burden of cancer locally and nationally.”
To achieve comprehensive status, a cancer center must succeed in a rigorous multistage review process. Siteman was awarded comprehensive status because of its strong basic science and clinical trial research programs; cancer prevention, cancer control and population-based research programs; and a body of interactive research bridging these areas.
The center was also recognized for its outreach and education for residents of the St. Louis region and for health-care professionals.
Since its inception in 1999, Siteman has provided the most effective, up-to-date care to people in the surrounding community and nationwide. It is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center within a 240-mile radius.
In the past year alone, the more than 300 WUSTL physicians affiliated with Siteman cared for nearly 6,000 new and 30,000 follow-up cancer patients, and they conducted more than 350 clinical trials.
Eberlein, also the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor, the Bixby Professor and head of the Department of Surgery, became director of the Siteman Cancer Center in 1999 when St. Louisans Alvin J. and Ruth Siteman committed $35 million to Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the University to advance cancer research and treatment.
In 2001, Siteman moved into the newly built Center for Advanced Medicine at the corner of Forest Park Boulevard and Euclid Avenue. Here outpatients receive evaluation and treatment by an integrated, multidisciplinary team of surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, specialized nurses and others.
This year, Siteman also gained new research space on the top floors of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Southwest Tower in the heart of the Medical Campus. The facility includes laboratories, offices and support areas for Siteman research teams.
Siteman received NCI designation as a Cancer Center in August 2001, which signaled that the center had demonstrated significant scope and quality in its cancer research programs. That designation brought with it $850,000 per year in federal grant monies to fund research within Siteman.
The center has now received a five-year extension of its cancer center support grant with a total of $21 million in new federal funding. Siteman’s goals mesh with the University’s strategic research initiative BioMed 21, which aims to translate basic genetic data into new therapies.
Siteman assures access to treatment options based upon the most advanced scientific knowledge for the St. Louis community.
Program researchers study cancer at its roots, investigating the genetic and cellular processes that initiate and foster cancerous growth as well as identifying human genetic defects associated with distinct malignancies.
New therapies are engineered through understanding the body’s immune response to cancer and by investigating the biology of stem cells of the bone marrow. Research groups work to develop new imaging techniques for cancer detection and monitoring.
One program strives to move research findings from the laboratory to the clinical setting and another group focuses on smoking prevention and cessation, early detection and chemoprevention.
Using the clinical research office at Siteman, physicians may also refer patients to clinical trials that offer the latest experimental drugs and surgical techniques.
In 2004, Siteman was ranked 13th among cancer centers by U.S. News & World Report.