Washington University receives $23 million grant, renewal of comprehensive status for Siteman Cancer Center

The Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine has received renewal of its designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The designation recognizes Siteman’s clinical research, basic science, community outreach and education activities. The renewal includes $23 million in research funding for the next five years.

“NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center confers the highest recognition of our exceptional cancer-focused scientists, clinicians and staff throughout Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital,” says Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, director of the Siteman Cancer Center. “Most importantly, we are translating our cutting-edge science into better treatments for the more than 40,000 cancer patients we see each year.”


To achieve comprehensive status, a cancer center must succeed in a rigorous, multi-stage review process, which included a 1,700-page grant proposal followed by a site visit by a panel of national experts in January.

NCI is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health.

“We received an outstanding evaluation that recognized Siteman as a leading cancer center nationwide,” Eberlein says. “The reviewers were very impressed by our genomics, our prevention and control and our disparities work, in addition to our other research programs.”

Eberlein, the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor and 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 Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital to advance cancer research and treatment.

Since its naming in 1999, Siteman has provided cancer care to people of the surrounding community and nationwide. An international leader in cancer treatment, it is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center within a 240-mile radius. It offers the expertise of more than 350 Washington University research scientists and physicians, plus the staff and advanced technology of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Siteman provides care for about 8,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year, making it one of the largest cancer centers in the nation.

University scientists and physicians affiliated with Siteman hold more than $165 million in cancer research and related training grants. The results of basic laboratory research are rapidly incorporated into treatment advances. This process is enhanced by patient access to more than 250 clinical studies, including many collaborative efforts with other leading cancer centers throughout the country.

Siteman first received NCI designation as a Cancer Center in August 2001, an acknowledgement that the center has significant scope and quality in its cancer research programs. The center integrates world-class basic science, genomics, imaging, clinical research and population sciences, building on Washington University’s renowned Genome Center and Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology as well as the Institute for Public Health and BRIGHT Institute.

Siteman provides treatment options based upon advanced scientific knowledge. Research here involves studying 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 have been engineered through understanding the body’s immune response to cancer and by investigating the biology of stem cells of the bone marrow.

Other research groups work to develop new imaging techniques for cancer detection and monitoring. All eight of Siteman’s research programs work to move research findings from the laboratory to the clinical setting. In addition, the Prevention and Control program focuses on health promotion and cancer prevention through smoking prevention and cessation, early detection and chemoprevention.

Since its inception, the Siteman Cancer Center has expanded to provide cancer services in locations that are more convenient to its patients. Locations include the Washington University Medical Center campus, at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. A new site is planned in south St. Louis County, serving the Interstate 55 corridor and southern Illinois.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Siteman Cancer Center is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center within a 240-mile radius of St. Louis. Siteman Cancer Center is composed of the combined cancer research and treatment programs of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.