PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center has been rated as “exceptional” by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) during a competitive research funding review by the government agency.

The Abramson Cancer Center, which is one of only 40 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, received the prestigious honor following scientific review and evaluation of essential features of a cancer center, including the high quality of cancer research, state-of-the art research and patient care facilities, experienced scientific leadership, and the level of collaboration and translation of science to innovative cancer care.

“This extraordinary accomplishment is further testimony to the outstanding research and patient care taking place at the Abramson Cancer Center,” said Arthur Rubenstein, MBBCh, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the School of Medicine. “This impressive result is an important validation of the Center’s excellence and devotion to patients.”

Abramson and other NCI-designated Cancer Centers are funded through the P30 Cancer Center Support Grant. These federal awards are given following a competitive, peer-review process that evaluates and ranks applications according to merit.

Among indicators of the Abramson Cancer Center’s leadership in cancer research: Since the last competitive renewal process in 2004, faculty physicians and researchers have authored more than 4,000 cancer-related publications. In addition, over the past five years, the Cancer Center’s research initiatives have been buoyed by a 41 percent increase in peer-reviewed funding. This intense research focus has had an instant impact on patient care, with a 44 percent increase in new patients over the past five years. During that time, 34,089 patients were enrolled in the Center’s interventional and non-interventional clinical trials, and doctors have significantly increased the number of women and minorities involved in research, which is a national priority for creating more effective treatments for a diverse group of patients.

“This rating for the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant reflects the exceptional scientific and leadership capabilities of our investigators and staff, as well as our commitment to reducing the burden of cancer through an integrated program of laboratory, clinical and population-based research," said Caryn Lerman, PhD, interim director of the Abramson Cancer Center and the Mary W. Calkins Professor of Psychiatry.

Current research priorities at the Abramson Cancer Center include molecular profiling and personalized medicine, tumor biology and tumor stem cells, and cancer prevention and early detection, including investigation of cancer risk behaviors and gene-environmental interactions that contribute to cancer development and progression.


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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