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University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center earns NCI's highest designation

May 31, 2016

BALTIMORE - May 31, 2016. The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has been awarded the National Cancer Institute's 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 (UMGCCC).

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 August 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 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, 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," Dr. 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."

Dr. Cullen adds that the cancer center has also 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," Mr. 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," Mr. 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 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."

The UMGCCC is part of both the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center. All of the physicians and the majority of the basic scientists are employees and faculty members of the School of Medicine. The cancer center also is at the heart of the University of Maryland Cancer Network, which includes cancer centers at several community hospitals in the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) - the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, and the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

"This designation marks a significant milestone for the Greenebaum Cancer Center, further advancing the extraordinary levels of clinical services and research available to the people of Maryland and the region," says Robert A. Chrencik, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical System. "Through the University of Maryland Cancer Network, our affiliated cancer centers treat Marylanders with the innovative and outstanding care they would expect from an academic cancer center - but closer to their homes."

NCI-designated Cancer Centers are the backbone of the NCI's programs to study and control cancer. About three-quarters of NCI's grants for investigator-initiated research are awarded to NCI-designated Cancer Centers, and many new therapies are available to patients as part of clinical trials. Studies have shown that patients treated at NCI-designated Cancer Centers have increased survival rates.
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About the University of Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore. The center is a joint entity of the University of Maryland Medical Center and University of Maryland School of Medicine. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to treating all types of cancer and has an active cancer research program. It is ranked in the top 50 cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. http://www.umgcc.org.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

The University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 and is the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as an innovative leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S. with top-tier faculty and programs in cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, vaccine development and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the nation, but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world. medschool.umaryland.edu/

About the University of Maryland Medical Center

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is comprised of two hospitals in Baltimore: an 800-bed teaching hospital -- the flagship institution of the 12-hospital University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) -- and a 200-bed community teaching hospital, UMMC Midtown Campus. UMMC is a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurocare, cardiac care, diabetes and endocrinology, women's and children's health and has one of the largest solid organ transplant programs in the country. All physicians on staff at the flagship hospital are faculty physicians of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. At UMMC Midtown Campus, faculty physicians work alongside community physicians to provide patients with the highest quality care. UMMC Midtown Campus was founded in 1881 and is located one mile away from the University Campus hospital. For more information, visit http://www.umm.edu

UMGCCC AT A GLANCE

  • Cares for more than 3,300 new cancer patients a year; handles nearly 50,000 outpatient visits and 1,800 inpatient admissions
  • 5 research programs and 7 shared services
  • 248 faculty members from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, other professional schools at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and four universities within the University System of Maryland
  • Minority participation in clinical trials. Nearly 33 percent of patients who take part in clinical trials are African-American. Nationally, the rate of African-American participation in clinical trials is less than 2 percent.
  • $61.7 million in research funding - $22.7 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • Heart of the University of Maryland Cancer Network: Includes University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center
  • Active community role:
  • Partners with the NCI and UMB on UMB CURE Scholars Program to encourage middle-school students to become physicians, cancer researchers and other health care workers. Mentors tutor students three times a week in science and math. First CURE Scholars Program in the country for middle-school students.
  • Baltimore City Cancer Program offers free breast, cervical, oral and colon cancer screenings to uninsured or underinsured Baltimore residents. More than 32,000 screenings have been performed since 2001.

RECENT SCIENTIFIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Discovery of galeterone, a novel compound to treat aggressive prostate cancer resistant to hormone therapy. Licensed to Tokai Pharmaceuticals, galeterone has been fast-tracked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is in Phase III clinical trials. Complementary research has identified gene mutations that may predict patients' response.
  • Invention of a one-of-a-kind stereotactic radiotherapy system called the GammaPod™ designed to treat early-stage breast cancer. Pending FDA approval.

OTHER KEY AREAS OF RESEARCH

  • Immunotherapy to harness the body's immune system to fight various cancers
  • Development of a novel compound to help mitigate lung injury in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy
  • Relationship of vaginal microbiome to women's risk of developing cervical cancer in Nigeria
  • Genomics of pain and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy
  • Effects of e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine-delivery systems


University of Maryland Medical Center

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