National Cancer Institute Renews Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation for Norris Cotton Cancer Center

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has renewed its Cancer Center Support Grant to Dartmouth College’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) located at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, continuing core funding for the only Comprehensive Cancer Center north of Boston.

The five-year $15.5 million grant, recently finalized and announced, will provide continued core support for NCCC’s clinical care and research missions. The prestigious designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center indicates that NCCC is one of only 51 centers in the United States, recognized by the NCI for its leadership and resources, in addition to demonstrating an added depth and breadth of research and substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas.

NCCC achieved a ranking of “outstanding” from the NCI’s review team. The Center has been designated as an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center continuously since 1990.

”I am incredibly proud of the work done by NCCC’s passionate and committed clinicians and researchers in reaching this milestone,” said NCCC Director Steven Leach, MD. “In renewing our grant and our designation, the NCI has recognized that NCCC provides the same level of cancer care and research as a major metropolitan Comprehensive Cancer Center, but with a small town, compassionate community face.”

NCCC is the only Comprehensive Cancer Center located outside a major urban area. It provides sophisticated cancer care to a region that is predominantly rural and largely medically underserved. A collaborative effort between Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, NCCC provides care in 15 locations around Vermont and New Hampshire, in addition to its main location at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. It provides cancer care for a wide variety of cancers, including Breast, Thoracic, Gastric, Brain, Genitourinary and Melanoma.

“The Cancer Center is among the crown jewels of our Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinical offerings,” said Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health CEO and President Joanne M. Conroy, MD. “We’re extremely fortunate to have Steve Leach leading our team, and this grant renewal and redesignation is the direct result of his vision and leadership. While this latest NCI designation is a point of pride for all of us at D-HH, our patients are the true beneficiaries.”

The funding under the NCI renewal will support advances in immunotherapy, discovery of new treatments, and advances in devices and imaging techniques that will lead to improved outcomes for NCCC patients. It will also enable outreach to rural populations and better understanding of the particular needs of those patients on the cancer journey. Many of the advances developed by the clinicians and scientists through previous NCI grant funding have led to specific small business grants from the NCI which aims to “promote the translation, further development, and ultimate commercialization of new therapies and technologies that span the cancer research spectrum.” This funding is one of the many sources which provide the $55 million in additional support for research awarded to members of the cancer center, and NCCC is among the top 10 cancer centers in the country for receipt of this source of awards.

“Having a comprehensive cancer center here at Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock is an incredible opportunity for our patients, researchers, students, and community,” said Duane Compton, PhD, dean of Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. “This NCI funding provides essential infrastructure support to catalyze the discovery of new therapeutic strategies in our research programs and the translation of those discoveries into new cancer treatments. Furthermore, NCCC is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity bringing together faculty from across Dartmouth, forming new companies to accelerate the transition of lab-based discoveries into better patient care."

NCCC is also supported by the community when, every year on the second Saturday in July, more than 4,000 participants and 1,000 volunteers from across the country come to Hanover for The Prouty, to raise seed money to help find a cure for cancer  and to support research and special services for patients that are not covered by insurance. Supporters walk, bike, golf, and row as individuals, families and teams. This year those supporters will participate in an entirely virtual Prouty and participate between June 1 and July 11 while following appropriate COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. To date, the Prouty has raised over $40,000,000 for cancer research and patient family support services at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.



About Norris Cotton Cancer Center: Norris Cotton Cancer Center, located on the campus of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, combines advanced cancer research at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, NH with the highest level of high-quality, innovative, personalized, and compassionate patient-centered cancer care at DHMC, as well as at regional, multi-disciplinary locations and partner hospitals throughout NH and VT,. NCCC is one of only 51 centers nationwide to earn the National Cancer Institute’s prestigious “Comprehensive Cancer Center” designation, the result of an outstanding collaboration between DHMC, New Hampshire’s only academic medical center, and Dartmouth College. Now entering its fifth decade, NCCC remains committed to excellence, outreach and education, and strives to prevent and cure cancer, enhance survivorship and to promote cancer health equity through its pioneering interdisciplinary research. Each year the NCCC schedules 61,000 appointments seeing nearly 4,000 newly diagnosed patients, and currently offers its patients more than 100 active clinical trials.