The Six Characteristics of an NCI-Designated Cancer Center

The Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) was created by the National Cancer Institute to foster cutting-edge research that maximizes the impact on patients across the country. By providing funding to a select group of centers that meet key requirements, the program has helped contribute to a sharp decline in cancer death rates since the 1990s. There are now almost 70 cancer centers using the grant to develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

While the CCSG is unquestionably positive for the clinical research industry, the requirements to earn and maintain a designation can be confusing. With broad requirements and benefits that can span across an entire academic institution, there are many researchers that may benefit from the grant, or contribute to their institution’s application or renewal, without even realizing it.

One of the key components of the CCSG is the ability to demonstrate six major characteristics of an NCI-designated cancer center. These include:

  1. Cancer Focus: The center must show a clear focus on cancer research within its programs.
  2. Center Director: The center director must be adequately qualified to manage the organization, with relevant experience both in scientific research and administration.
  3. Facilities: Center administration must demonstrate appropriate facilities, resources and administration dedicated to cancer-focused research.
  4. Institutional Commitment: Leadership within the center and the larger academic/research organization must prove the center is a vital part of the organization’s clinical research strategy.
  5. Organizational Capacity: Center administration needs to show that the center is using its research facilities to their maximum capabilities.
  6. Trans-disciplinary Collaboration and Coordination: Leadership needs to demonstrate sufficient collaboration between the center and investigators within other institutions.

Advarra’s Research Evaluation System, EVAL, delivers key requirements to meet CCSG guidelines, also providing visualizations showing the publication output of your programs and grants received.

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