Coronavirus Information: Vaccinations | Testing | Safety Policies & Visitor Guidelines | Appointments & Scheduling | FAQs

History and Mission


Penn Medicine's Cancer Center was formally established in 1973 by a dedicated group of cancer specialists committed to offering cancer patients the newest and most innovative therapeutic advances. Originally, its goal was to demonstrate that the appropriate cancer therapy could cure patients of their disease. The Cancer Center has expanded to over 300 faculty, organized in divisions that seek to prevent, diagnose, and cure cancer through the development of new knowledge, diagnostic tests, and therapies.

In June 2002, the Cancer Center was renamed the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania in recognition of the extraordinary support of Leonard and Madlyn Abramson and family.

The Abramson Cancer Center is one of a select group of cancer centers in the country awarded the prestigious designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. This status, which has been awarded to the Abramson Cancer Center continuously for the past 47 years, reflects our outstanding research, clinical services, education, and information services and community outreach.


The Abramson Cancer Center's mission is achieved through the following objectives:

  • Development and support of cancer-focused research programs that are interdisciplinary and interdepartmental in nature
  • Expansion and integration of cancer-related patient services and interdisciplinary clinical programs
  • Development and support of interdepartmental educational programs for physicians, scientists, students, nurses, and others
  • Recruitment and support of new faculty with a commitment to cancer research
  • Facilitation of investigator collaboration within and among research programs
  • Development and management of Shared Resources
  • Acquisition and allocation of laboratory space for active cancer researchers
The Abramson Cancer Center works closely with departments, the health system and University leaders, Cancer Center members, and interested faculty to achieve its mission.