The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has been awarded the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) highest designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. The prestigious distinction recognizes the cancer center’s high caliber of scientific leadership and robust programs in basic, clinical and population science research, placing it in the top tier of cancer centers nationwide. The new name of the center is the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The cancer center was granted NCI-designated Cancer Center status in 2008 and applied last fall to become a Comprehensive Cancer Center. NCI awarded the center the new designation after a rigorous review, which included a three-day site visit by 22 NCI reviewers in late February. The reviewers cited the cancer center’s “impressive progress” over the past five years and rated the center “outstanding.” The new designation goes into effect at the start of the cancer center’s next grant cycle Aug. 1.
“We are extremely proud to have met the NCI’s exacting standards to be recognized as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and to be ranked in the very top echelon of cancer centers in the country,” says Kevin J. Cullen, MD, the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Distinguished Professor of Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) and the cancer center’s director. “This designation is a tremendous achievement for our entire team and will significantly enhance our ability to translate discoveries in the laboratory into better treatments for cancer patients in Maryland and beyond.”
The Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only 46 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States. There are a total of 69 NCI-designated Cancer Centers in 35 states and Washington, D.C.
“The Greenebaum family could not be more pleased that the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has achieved this important milestone,” says Michael Greenebaum, president of Greenebaum Enterprises, Inc. “To see the cancer center reach the highest echelon under the direction of Dr. Cullen is truly a dream come true for my Mom and Dad.”
As a result of the new designation, the cancer center’s grant will increase 50 percent, to $1.5 million, and the center will be eligible for other funding from the NCI and other public and private sources.
“We have made significant strides in expanding our basic and clinical research to include a strong population science program to help reduce disparities in both cancer treatment and prevention that threaten the health of minority populations,” Cullen says. “About 33 percent of the patients who take part in our clinical trials are African-American, reflecting our cancer center’s unique position and mission to involve the minority community in state-of-the-art clinical and translational research.”
Cullen adds that the cancer center also has developed a comprehensive education and training program to educate the next generation of clinicians and scientists.
NCI Comprehensive Cancer Centers have comprehensive, well-integrated programs in population health, education, and cancer prevention as well as outstanding basic, clinical, and translational research programs.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who was treated for stage III non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the cancer center in 2015, has advocated for the center’s efforts to achieve Comprehensive Cancer Center status. “Our state takes enormous pride in the Greenebaum Cancer Center’s accomplishments and commitment to helping reduce cancer risks, increase access to care, and improve the health of all Marylanders,” Hogan says.
“The cutting-edge research being conducted at the cancer center has changed the ways cancer is treated, not only here in Maryland but around the world.
“Personally, I could not be more grateful to have been the recipient of the outstanding medical care that the center is known for,” Hogan says. “And it is because of this expert and compassionate care, combined with a lot of support and prayers, that I am proud to say that I am now in complete remission and cancer-free.”
“This is a significant achievement for the Greenebaum Cancer Center, and one that perfectly reflects the research-intensive ethos and culture of the School of Medicine,” says E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “With our commitment to discovery-based medicine, this designation further supports the culture and research productivity of our faculty in developing major breakthroughs in cancer that will benefit patients in our community and around the world.”
“This designation reflects the commitment to scientific discovery, precision medicine, and cancer prevention that makes the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center a world-class institution, known for its innovative research but also its compassionate patient care,” says Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). “Faculty members at the School of Nursing and other professional schools at UMB work very closely with the cancer center on a number of major research initiatives, including exploring methods to eradicate debilitating cancer-related pain.”