Comprehensive Cancer Centers:

Their Locations and Role in Demonstration

MWD-76-98: Published: Mar 17, 1976. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1976.

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Pursuant to the National Cancer Act of 1971, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated 17 comprehensive cancer centers across the country. Congress wanted these centers to be hubs of biomedical research, to link basic biomedical researchers and applied clinical care, and to be situated so that the majority of citizens would be within a reasonable distance. NCI estimates that it will take about 31 comprehensive centers to serve about 180 million people. So far, the 17 comprehensive centers have been part of institutions where cancer research programs already exist, and a balanced geographic distribution has not been achieved.

NCI has not given the centers any specific responsibilities to act as focal points, nor evaluated the areas the centers are serving to see if they are reaching as many people as possible or if they are duplicating efforts of other centers. If a center is in a city where several institutions are sponsoring cancer research, the competition among these institutions and the center for Federal research funds raises questions about the practicality of a focal point. NCI has encountered problems where several institutions have been designated as a single comprehensive center.

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