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Our cancer specialists, including surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, are some of the world's leading experts in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. They are committed to unlocking the mysteries of this disease and are behind some of the most important advances in cancer therapy and research.
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only two National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Illinois and has earned an international reputation for excellence and a commitment to addressing cancer from every angle. Our physicians and researchers have been elected to numerous positions in professional and honorary societies, and they’ve won countless awards, including the Nobel Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Find a clinical trial that's right for you. As a lead site for the Clinical Trials Network, we have more than 300 open therapeutic trials and enroll more than 1,000 patients each year.
Being an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center is the gold standard for cancer programs and is bestowed upon the nation’s top cancer centers in recognition of their innovative research and leading-edge treatments.
Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators are organized into five integrated scientific programs. Each program focuses on promising research paths, from cancer prevention to understanding cancer at the molecular level.
Our breakthroughs in cancer research have led to many of the cancer treatments used today. The roots of chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, gene therapy and bone marrow transplantation can be traced to the University of Chicago Medicine.
In 1941, Charles Huggins, MD, published the results of a series of experiments on the relationship of testosterone to prostate cancer. Dr. Huggins' research on prostate cancer changed forever the way scientists regarded the behavior of all cancer cells and for the first time brought hope to the prospect of treating advanced cancers. The concept of hormonal treatment of cancer has since become a mainstay of care for several types of cancer, including breast and gynecological cancers. Huggins was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1966.
Chicago researchers, led by Elwood Jensen, PhD, discovered in the late 1950s that hormones act through steroid receptors on their target cells. This discovery led directly to hormone therapies for breast cancer, a practice credited with saving the lives of thousands of women each year. Jensen won the Lasker Award for this work in 2004.
The University of Chicago is considered as one of the birthplaces of cancer chemotherapy. In 1943, Dr. Leon Jacobson was one of the first to study the effectiveness of the chemical nitrogen mustard as a treatment for terminally ill patients with lymphoma and leukemia. Many drugs still in use against cancer are derivatives of nitrogen mustard.
The first bone marrow transplant was performed at the University of Chicago in the late 1940s. Dr. Leon Jacobson discovered that he could save a mouse, whose bone marrow and spleen had been destroyed with radiation, by transplanting donated spleen tissue into the mouse. Bone marrow stem cells from the spleen would repopulate the marrow and restore the production of blood cells.
Today, our pediatric and adult blood and bone marrow stem cell transplant and cellular therapy programs treat about 200 patients a year for leukemia, lymphoma, various solid tumors and genetic diseases.
Janet Rowley, MD, identified the first chromosomal translocation in leukemia, the t(9;22) or Philadelphia chromosome, leading to the recognition of the genetic basis of cancer. Her remarkable discovery revolutionized how we think about and treat cancer, which has led to the current era of personalized oncology. She won numerous awards for her transformative contributions, including the 1998 Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
UChicago Medicine was the first site in the country to be certified for FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies for specific blood cancers in both adult and pediatric patients. CAR (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) T-cell therapy is an emerging form of cancer immunotherapy, which involves supercharging a patient’s T-cells to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Research at UChicago Medicine played a key role in the development of this exciting new immunotherapy for advanced blood cancers. Select medical centers in the United States, including UChicago Medicine, led clinical trials of this new treatment for leukemia and lymphoma. After promising — and, in some cases, remarkable — results in adults and children, the FDA approved CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of specific types of these blood cancers.
CAR T-cell therapy supercharges a patient’s white blood cells to seek out and destroy cancer cells.
Research at UChicago Medicine played a key role in the development of this exciting new immunotherapy for advanced blood cancers.