The state’s top cancer research facility is having its designation as a “comprehensive” cancer center renewed by the National Cancer Institute. The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa is also winning another $11-million, five-year grant to continue its research.
Dr. George Weiner, director of the center in Iowa City, says while there’s not yet a cure for cancer, researchers are making continual strides. “Cancer is not just one problem, it’s actually hundreds of different problems,” Weiner says.
“Not only is each cancer different, but we’ve learned that even two cancers that come from the same part of the body and look the same under the microscope are very different at the genetic level. What we’re doing now is using that information to tailor specific treatments for each individual patients.”
He says the center is playing an important role in the discovery and development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. “I don’t think there ever will be a single cure for cancer but we’re definitely making progress and we’re definitely chipping away at the problem,” Weiner says.
“More people are being cured, fewer people are dying of cancer than ever before. We still have a long way to go, but with research, I have no doubt that we’re going to continue to make progress.” The U-of-I facility is one of only 40 in the nation that are designated as a top-tier or “comprehensive” cancer research centers.
The Iowa City center coordinates all cancer-related research, education and patient care conducted throughout the University of Iowa by nearly 200 faculty from 36 departments and six colleges, as well as the U-of-I Hospitals and Clinics and the U-of-I Children’s Hospital.