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>  News Releases >   2003 >   October

Expansion doubles NCCC facility size

Posted 10/17/03

Four new floors in Rubin building add research space

Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center opened the doors on four floors of new research space on Oct. 3, just as word came from Washington that it has won a designation and recommendation for increased funding.

Norris Cotton Cancer Center
The Norris Cotton Cancer Center has expanded to twice its former size, with four new floors added to the Barbara E. Rubin Building at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The center now has 100,000 square feet, with space for cancer research, and clinical and administrative activities. The expansion will create room for new researchers and clinicians. (photo courtesy of DHMC Public Affairs)

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), announced that the Cancer Center has been awarded a 5-year renewal of its Comprehensive Cancer Center status, making it one of 39 centers in the country to receive the federal government's highest ranking.

At the same time, NCI released its recommendation that annual funding for Norris Cotton Cancer Center be increased to $3.54 million. This almost doubles the current funding rate of $1.8 million.

Mark Israel, Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, said, "Renewal of our status as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and the increase in our core grant funding from NCI is solid affirmation that what we're doing here in New Hampshire represents real progress in the fight against cancer. Essentially, this is saying to us: 'we believe in what you're doing - keep it up.'"

Norris Cotton Cancer Center, a partnership between scientists and researchers from Dartmouth Medical School and physicians from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., has long ranked in the top tier of cancer centers nationwide. The NCI network of Comprehensive Cancer Centers includes Memorial Sloan-Kettering, M.D. Anderson and Johns Hopkins. To earn designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, a facility must go through a competitive review process and meet rigorous standards, specifically in three areas:

  • innovative and comprehensive research into the causes, development, prevention and treatment of cancer
  • leadership in the development and study of new therapies
  • commitment to the community through programs for cancer information, education and outreach.

NCI describes Comprehensive Cancer Centers as "the centerpiece of the nation's effort to reduce morbidity and mortality from cancer. They are the major sources of new knowledge relating to the nature of cancer and of new and more effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and therapy."

One of the hallmarks of a Comprehensive Cancer Center is its ability to translate the most advanced research into new therapies for patients who come there for care. Patients at Norris Cotton Cancer Center receive individualized care from a multidisciplinary team of clinicians specializing in medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, pathology, radiology, advanced oncology nursing, reconstructive surgery, psychosocial services, and other specialties. This individualized care is provided through 11 cancer management groups, each specializing in a particular kind of cancer. Norris Cotton Cancer Center also has programs in bone marrow transplant, palliative care, cancer risk assessment, and hemophilia. Through its community outreach collaboration with regional physicians, technologically advanced care is made available to patients as close to home as possible.

To accommodate the increasing number of research grants and clinical trials being done at the Cancer Center, and to increase synergies between researchers, physicians, and clinical staff, the Medical Center and Medical School have just completed a major expansion of the Cancer Center. Four new floors of state-of-the-art research labs and facilities - 100,000 square feet - represent a doubling of the center's physical space.

The formal opening of the space ended a three-day symposium, which brought internationally renowned cancer researchers to the area to discuss the latest advances in the use of immunology to treat brain tumors.

The Center was named for U.S. Sen. Norris Cotton (R-N.H.), who was instrumental in securing federal funding to build the facility in 1972. NCCC first achieved NCI recognition as a clinical cancer center in 1978, and was among the first to achieve the new NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1990.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is New Hampshire's only academic medical center. DHMC comprises Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, Dartmouth Medical School and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt.

- By Deborah Kimbell

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