October 14, 2020

Karmanos Cancer Institute receives renewal of National Cancer Institute Core Grant

The National Cancer Institute core grant for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has been renewed. The renewal extends the institute’s prestigious NCI designation through 2025. Karmanos is among 51 centers nationwide to receive this designation.

NCI-designated cancer centers are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer. They play a vital role in advancing the goal of reducing cancer morbidity and mortality.

“This designation reaffirms what we see at Karmanos every day: that our researchers and clinical staff members are doing outstanding work in their fields,” said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Karmanos, and associate dean of Cancer Programs and chair of Oncology fro the Wayne State University School of Medicine. “Our NCI designation sets us apart in the fields of cancer research and treatment by showing our patients, colleagues and peers that we are committed to creating a world free of cancer. With this achievement, we are empowered to press forward in the fight against cancer.”

To secure grant renewal, Karmanos submitted a 2,000-page application and underwent a site visit by a panel of national experts. The 2020 visit took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The visit resulted in a detailed report. The work of Karmanos’s Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement, which conducts community-based behavioral research and is led by Hayley Thompson, Ph.D., associate professor of Oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and leader of the Population Studies and Disparities Research Program for KCI, achieved a perfect score of “exceptional.” Overall, Karmanos exceeded its standing from 2015 – a result that validates the hard work and dedication of the Karmanos team.

The National Cancer Institute first designated the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute a comprehensive cancer center in 1978, when the Institute was called the Meyer L. Prentis Comprehensive Cancer Center of Metropolitan Detroit. It was the first center in Michigan to receive the NCI designation and remains one of only two in Michigan.

To be designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the NCI, a center must:

· Demonstrate a depth and breadth of cancer research activities in each of three major areas: basic laboratory, clinical and prevention control in population-based science

· Be effective in serving its catchment area, as well as the broader population, through the cancer research it supports and the cancer control activities it undertakes

· Integrate cancer training and education of biomedical researchers and community health care professionals into programmatic efforts to enhance the scientific mission of the center

· Initiate and conduct early-phase, innovative clinical trials and participate in the NCI’s cooperative groups by providing leadership and recruiting patients for trials

· Conduct activities in outreach and education, and provide information on advances in health care for health care professionals and the public

In the last five years, Karmanos Cancer Center members have conducted more than 600 clinical trials and enrolled 6,596 patients in interventional trials and 2,797 in treatment trials. More than 150 investigational therapeutic agents are being studied in a variety of malignancies. The Food and Drug Administration approved 72 new cancer-specific drugs. Through clinical trials, Karmanos has participated in the approval of 48 of these drugs.

“The renewal of the core grant by the National Cancer Institute reinforces Karmanos Cancer Institute’s status as one of the best cancer treatment and research operations in the Midwest and the largest in the state of Michigan. This renewal is the result of the hard work and dedication of our clinicians and researchers, and enables us to provide bench-to-bedside medicine to our patients,” said Philip Incarnati, president and chief executive officer of McLaren Health Care. “We are grateful for the renewal of this NCI designation, as it allows us to provide critical resources and develop life-saving cancer treatments in the communities we serve. We can only imagine the continued advances in treatment protocols that will come from this achievement. No doubt, many lives will be saved.”