NATASHA THOMSON/THE HOYA Georgetown’s Lombardi Cancer Center was renewed as the District’s only comprehensive cancer center, also winning a $11.25 million grant for clinical trials, equipment and personnel over five years.
NATASHA THOMSON/THE HOYA
Georgetown’s Lombardi Cancer Center was renewed as the District’s only comprehensive cancer center, also winning a $11.25 million grant for clinical trials, equipment and personnel over five years.

The National Cancer Institute renewed the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s status as Washington, D.C.’s only comprehensive cancer center — a title the center has held for 20 years — and awarded the center with a five-year $11.25 million Cancer Center Support Grant on Wednesday.

“This grant and prestigious designation validates what we’ve long known — that Georgetown Lombardi conducts excellent and high-impact work,” Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Howard Federoff said via a communications representative.

Georgetown is one of 41 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States.

In order to earn the designation of comprehensive cancer center, the hospital must both conduct research and treat patients. The center is also required to use a laboratory for basic science research, a clinic for clinical trials and a focus on the center’s surrounding population.

Additionally, the center must provide patient treatment that offers a variety of clinical trials for unapproved and innovative medicines, as well as training programs for future health care providers and scientists interested in pursuing a specialization in cancer treatment. Finally, a comprehensive cancer center must engage in community outreach to promote education and spread awareness. Lombardi Center Director Louis Weiner said that community outreach is especially important to the Lombardi Center, in light of the District’s high cancer rates.

Between 2001 and 2005, D.C. ranked first in the nation for deaths caused by prostate, cervical and breast cancers, third-highest for deaths caused by colorectal cancer, and sixth-highest for deaths caused by cancer in general.

“This is a tremendous focus for centers like Georgetown Lombardi because the city we call home is disproportionately impacted by cancer,” Weiner wrote in an email.

Weiner said that the grant is meant to fund clinical management and data collection for clinical trials, the early stages during which the treatment is first tested on humans, expensive equipment and personnel expertise that can become necessary during research and infrastructure maintenance.

“While this grant is awarded after demonstrating strength and breadth of research capacity, patient treatment, training and community outreach, the grant is intended to support the behind-the-scenes activities that make these programs successful,” he wrote. “This is one of the only grants available to support these critical needs.”

According to Weiner, although Lombardi has received larger grants, this grant is unique because it is not directly intended for research alone.

“This grant funds what other grants don’t,” Weiner wrote.

The NCI also acknowledged the collaborative effort between Lombardi and MedStar Health in the creation of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network, a network of four Washington-region hospitals.

“We’re pleased the grant reviewers recognized our work with MedStar Health and its hospitals throughout the region to export our treatment expertise so that we can reduce the burden of cancer,” Federoff said.

Sarah Waye (COL ’15), who won the Goldwater Scholarship last summer for her research at Lombardi on medulloblastoma and for her proposed future research on stem cell treatments for spinal injuries, lauded Lombardi as a high-quality cancer research institution.

“I think that being called a comprehensive cancer center is actually entirely deserved by Lombardi because the amount of research and the quality of research that’s coming out of there is astounding,” Waye said.

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