• Press Release

The Tisch Cancer Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Earns National Cancer Institute Designation

  • (July 30, 2015)

The Tisch Cancer Institute (TCI) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has been named a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center. TCI joins an elite group of 69 cancer institutions nationwide that have earned this designation, which is based on scientific excellence, robust clinical research, and beneficial community impact.  

The designation includes a five-year, $8.5 million grant that will support research programs, recruitment of top academic researchers, and enhancements in community engagement. The funding complements $79 million in current cancer research grants earned by TCI investigators.

“The NCI designation recognizes our deep commitment to advance the field of cancer research, treatment, and prevention, and to bring these innovations to cancer patients and their families,” said Steven Burakoff, MD, Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Cancer Medicine and Director of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai.  “The designation reflects Mount Sinai’s significant investment in cancer research, world-class faculty, and cutting-edge facilities.”

In meeting the rigorous standards of the NCI designation, TCI completed a competitive review process. TCI demonstrated its innovative and comprehensive research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as its commitment to the community through informational programs, education, and outreach. The NCI commended TCI’s strengths in basic science, clinical research and community-based outreach.

“Through Dr. Burakoff’s leadership, Mount Sinai has become a national leader in basic, clinical, and population cancer research and treatment,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mount Sinai Health System. “The strengths in research that were central to our  NCI designation include harnessing the immune system to attack cancer cells, studying the impact of environmental toxins on cancer, understanding liver cancer biology, and based on our unique New York ethnic communities, studying the genetic differences and care disparities that drive greater cancer risk in some patients.”

TCI’s recent growth has included the recruitment of a number of prominent physicians and researchers (55 overall in the last seven years), including William Oh, MD, Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research and Chief of Hematology and Medical Oncology; Randall Holcombe, MD, Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer for Cancer;  Marshall Posner, MD, Associate Director for Clinical Trials Infrastructure and Medical Director of Head and Neck Cancer; and Paolo Boffetta, MD, MPH, Associate Director for Population Science and Director of  Translational Epidemiology. In its assessment, the NCI praised Dr. Burakoff’s leadership in recruiting strong leaders to further advance the field of cancer research at TCI.

The following TCI research programs were highlighted in the NCI application and commended for their strong foundation and national acclaim:

Cancer Immunology, led by Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD and Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, which addresses anti-tumor immunity and fosters the development of cancer vaccines;
Cancer Mechanisms, led by Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD and Ross Cagan, PhD, which seeks to understand the biology of cancer cell development;
Liver Cancer, led by Scott Friedman, MD and Josep Llovet, MD, whose focus is to discover novel approaches to diagnose and treat liver cancer; and
Cancer Prevention and Control, led by Paolo Boffetta, MD, MPH and William Redd, PhD, which addresses the important aspects of primary and secondary cancer prevention.

“The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai reflects a vital trend seen in recent years: real world, complex medical problems being solved by teams that successfully integrate many disciplines,” said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System. “The NCI designation is based on our exceptional leadership, extensive research facilities, and an institution-wide commitment to research, including a focus on the role of genetics, obesity, and diabetes in cancer. The NCI designation will facilitate expansion of novel treatment options and clinical trials for patients throughout the Mount Sinai Health System.”

“Congratulations to Dr. Burakoff and the entire Mount Sinai team for receiving this prestigious designation,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). “It recognizes Mount Sinai’s deep commitment to offering the newest and most sophisticated therapies in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.”

“I congratulate Mount Sinai for earning this prestigious honor,” said U.S. Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY). “Mount Sinai has been instrumental in improving the health of our communities in East and Central Harlem. This designation reinforces Mount Sinai’s role as a tremendous asset for those battling cancer in our community.”

“I applaud the recent announcement by the National Cancer Institute that Mount Sinai will receive an $8.5 million grant over the next five years,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). “This investment reflects Mount Sinai's commitment to finding a cure and providing the highest level of care and treatment for the people of New York and the many patients who travel to our state for advanced care. Thank you to the dedicated team and support staff at Mount Sinai for improving options for those affected by cancer.”  

“I offer my sincere congratulations to Mount Sinai for being designated a National Cancer Center by the NCI,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). “This designation allows them to work closely with other national centers of excellence to form the backbone of our nation’s fight against cancer, bringing its long history of leading-edge research and high-quality patient care to the effort. As part of the NCI network, Mount Sinai will be able to expand its work and continue to help patients by making lifesaving discoveries in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.”

"Mount Sinai’s designation will benefit patients throughout the New York area,” said U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY). “Mount Sinai has long demonstrated a commitment to serving the health care needs of the people of New York, and I look forward to seeing it continue to lead in innovative cancer treatment and research.”

A Proud History
In 2008, The Tisch Cancer Institute was established through the generosity of James S. and Merryl Tisch. The founding of The Tisch Cancer Institute allowed for critical faculty recruits, including TCI’s inaugural Director, Steven Burakoff, MD. As director of New York University’s Cancer Center from 2000-2007, Dr. Burakoff had been instrumental in NYU’s NCI designation. Mount Sinai’s commitment to cancer research and Dr. Burakoff’s vision to create the infrastructure, reporting mechanisms, and shared resources were critical for The Tisch Cancer Institute’s new NCI designation.

The 2012 opening of the Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine on The Mount Sinai Hospital campus created additional research space and facilitated real-time collaboration between physicians, investigators, and specialists from across disciplines. The Hess Center houses the Derald H. Ruttenberg Treatment Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute, a 50,000- square-foot comprehensive treatment center for patients, which includes 48 exam rooms on the third floor, 54 state-of-the-art chemotherapy infusion suites on the fourth floor, and a patient resource center. The Hess Center also houses Radiation Oncology and Cancer Imaging. In addition, the Dubin Breast Center, established through a generous gift by Mount Sinai Trustees Glenn Dubin and Eva Andersson-Dubin, MD, provides a multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer screening, treatment, and survivorship in a 15,000-square-foot facility in The Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Tisch Cancer Institute of Mount Sinai is a vital component of the Icahn School of Medicine and plays a key role in the Mount Sinai Health System, which is one of the largest health care systems in the nation.  

For more information about The Tisch Cancer Institute, please visit www.mountsinai.org/tisch.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

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