Dartmouth’s Cancer Center 

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Dartmouth’s Cancer Center is one of a kind—the only cancer center to be fully integrated with a world-class liberal arts college, medical school, engineering school, business school, and academic health system.

This unique interconnectivity coupled with Dartmouth’s intimate scale and collaborative culture has sparked groundbreaking research, innovations, and landmark entrepreneurship in areas such as immunotherapy, precision medicine, cancer prevention, diagnosis, and surgery.

With faculty from 21 departments across Dartmouth, the Cancer Center also enriches the education of hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students every year, providing them with mentored research experiences.

Innovation and Impact

Many of the discoveries that are now revolutionizing cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship can be traced back to Dartmouth and its Cancer Center.

Immunotherapy, Genomics, and Bioengineering

  • Discovered new "immune checkpoint" drugs that are revolutionizing the treatment of solid tumors.
  • Developed some of the first custom panels for "next-generation" tumor genome sequencing. The Cancer Center is one of only five gene-sequencing centers chosen for the National Cancer Institute’s precision medicine cancer treatment trial—MATCH.
  • Developed advanced imaging technology to improve accuracy of brain tumor surgery and radiation therapy.
  • Invented new 3-D-printing strategy to dramatically improve breast cancer surgery and reduce costs.

Prevention and Population Sciences

  • Identified cancer risk for current and future generationsfrom environmental toxins and behaviors.
  • Revealed connection between genetic variations, brain responses, media exposures, and individual behaviors related to the consumption of cancer-causing and obesogenic products, especially among youth.
  • Catalyzed recent FDA policy changes regarding e-cigarettes by demonstrating that youth who use e-cigarettes have a far greater risk for future cancer-causing tobacco use.

Patient Values and Quality of Life

  • Led first large-scale studies of palliative care delivered concurrently with cancer care.
  • Pioneered shared decision making for cancer screening and treatment choices.
  • Revealed the potential benefits and harms of some forms of cancer screening and the risk of overdiagnosis.

Entrepreneurship

  • Immunotheraphy:  Medarex, ImmuNext, Celdara                                     
  • Advanced Imaging: DoesOptics, CairnSurgical, Clin-EPR

Facts and Figures

Dartmouth’s Cancer Center is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation—selected for excellence in clinical care, research, education, and community engagement—and the only one north of Boston and east of Buffalo.

Research

  • More than 120 senior scientific investigators from 21 departments within Geisel, Thayer, and Arts & Sciences attract $50 million annually in grants and contracts
  • Cancer Center members account for more than 1/3 of all Dartmouth College research funding overall and more than 1/2 of all Dartmouth College research funding from the National Institutes of Health
  • More than 200 research projects within four programs: Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, Cancer Population Sciences, Translational Engineering in Cancer, Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Entering its fifth decade of continuous funding from the National Cancer Institute

Education

  • Largest single sponsor of undergraduate research opportunities across campus
  • More than 100 Dartmouth undergraduates every year enrich their learning through the Cancer Center—by contributing to research, shadowing physicians who treat patients with cancer, and attending lectures and dialogues that explore the many career paths connected to cancer
  • Cancer Center members are also intimately involved with teaching and mentoring of Geisel’s MD and MD-PhD students, as well as graduate students from Geisel, Tuck, Thayer, and the Guarini School.
  • 9 Hematology-Oncology MD fellows

Clinical Care

  • Consistently ranked among the very top nationally for patient satisfaction (#1 in 2017)
  • More than 32,000 patients served annually from a five-state catchment area: NH, VT, ME, MA, NY
  • More than 200 cancer specialists in 17 interdisciplinary, patient-centered oncology programs
  • More than 160 open clinical trials; one of only 30 NCI National Clinical Trials Network Lead sites
  • Care is provided as close to home as possible through six regional centers and in partnership with nine community hospitals in New Hampshire and Vermont
  • Global oncology programs in Honduras and Rwanda

Community Engagement

  • Cancer Center researchers partner closely with communities in NH and VT to improve cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survivorship. Examples include facilitating HPV vaccination uptake in rural primary care practices, identifying household risk of cancer due to arsenic in well water, and working with immigrant communities to navigate cancer care.
  • Expert consultations and continuing education for regional physicians and cancer care clinicians

Fundraising Priorities

Philanthropic investments in these areas will propel Dartmouth’s Cancer Center to the forefront of comprehensive cancer centers worldwide:

Prevent Cancer in Current and Future Generations ($10 million)

We will stop cancer before it starts by developing the tools needed to map any individual’s lifetime genetic, behavioral, and environmental risk factors for cancer, including in utero exposures, and create bold new strategies to mitigate those risks.

Engineer Cancer Cures ($20 million)

We will engineer new, more effective, and less toxic cancer therapies and technologies. These include affordable, universal CAR-T cells and novel immunotherapies; new devices and imaging to improve cancer surgery; more precise and less-invasive screening and diagnostic tests; new molecular therapies; and nanoparticle monitoring of drug delivery.

Expand Student Opportunities ($5 million)

We will train the next generation of physicians, scientists, and health-care leaders to tackle the world’s biggest problems from non-siloed approaches, using cancer as a learning lens.

Accelerate Innovation ($10 million)

Through a director’s innovation fund, we will invest nimbly and strategically in the most promising scientific discoveries and emerging opportunities.

Fuel Entrepreneurship ($5 million)

We will strengthen our research and entrepreneurial infrastructure, making Dartmouth a preferred partner for biotechnology companies in the evaluation of new drugs and devices for cancer detection, prevention, and treatment.We will provide faculty with protected time and support to translate therapies, devices, or other innovations to the marketplace—and closer to benefiting patients.

 

The outlook for cancer prevention and treatment is both more hopeful and more challenging than ever before. Real progress will require creative, ambitious teams of scholars, clinicians, and innovators, working together with patients, in an environment where collaboration is easy and patients’ needs and values always come first. That place is Dartmouth.

Please join us. Together, we will transform cancer prevention and treatment.


Surgical oncologist and physician-researcher Richard Barth, MD (right), meets with engineers Venkat Krishnaswamy, PhD (middle), and Keith Paulsen, PhD (left), to discuss their device that improves the accuracy of breast cancer surgery.

Culture Drives Innovation and Improves Cancer Care

Surgeons love to fix things. Often that means removing a tumor or repairing a joint. But for surgical oncologist Richard Barth, MD, that also means improving the entire approach for one of the most common surgeries he does: lumpectomy, removing a tumor while leaving the breast intact.

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For more information, please contact Marne Perreault:
Mary.V.Perreault@hitchcock.org  |  603-653-0762