Cancer Advances


Advances in Oncology

Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Earns National Cancer Institute Renewal

image of Dr. Anil K. Rustgi

Dr. Anil K. Rustgi, Director, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center

Redesignation of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center comes with a five-year support grant of $26.5 million, an increase of nearly 40 percent in funding over the previous support grant.

The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving medical Center has been competitively renewed as a designated Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the largest funder of cancer research in the world. Originally funded in 1972, the HICCC gained comprehensive status in 1979. The most recent renewal marks more than 40 years since the HICCC has maintained its status as a comprehensive cancer center.

After a thorough evaluation of every facet of HICCC’s operations, the NCI awarded the HICCC with the Comprehensive Cancer Center designation, the highest ranking given. The redesignation comes with a five-year support grant of $26.5 million, an increase of nearly 40 percent in funding over the previous support grant.

The funding supports extensive programs at the HICCC that affect cancer research, patient care, education/training and community outreach, including:

  • Cancer genomics and epigenomics
  • Tumor biology and microenvironment
  • Precision oncology and systems biology
  • Cancer population science
  • Clinical trials
  • Shared resources (core facilities)
  • Pilot grants
  • Health professional training and education
  • Community outreach, advocacy, and patient education

Research at the HICCC has led to widespread advances in cancer research and progress in cancer care, including new immunotherapy approaches in lung and prostate cancer, the first effective treatment for connective tissue cancers, and new surgical protocols for treating uterine and cervical cancer. Over the past five years, HICCC investigators have made new discoveries in cancer immunotherapy, expanded the use of systems biology and genomics to identify personalized cancer treatments, and introduced mathematical and engineering approaches to the study of cancer.

HICCC oncologists also help guide the testing of new therapies in nationwide clinical trials through their leadership positions in the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network, the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), SWOG Cancer Research Network, and other clinical trial collaboratives.

“As a comprehensive cancer center housed in one of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals and academic medical research centers, we offer our patients the most compassionate, cutting-edge care available, from top scientists and clinicians,” says Anil K. Rustgi, MD, HICCC Director and Interim Dean of Columbia’s Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine. “Having access to this robust cancer care and research ecosystem is crucial for the patients we serve in Upper Manhattan and the New York City metropolitan area, where the incidence of some common cancers is higher than the national average.”