Columbia Cancer Marks 50 Years of NCI Designation with Sept. 15 Symposium

Milestone event highlights the center’s future of innovation in cancer research and care

September 6, 2022

Fifty years ago, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) became one of the first cancer centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), sparking explosive growth and expansion of cancer research and care at Columbia. The $40M grant integrated 23 subprograms in 10 departments and divisions across Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

On September 15, the HICCC will commemorate its 50-year milestone of NCI designation with a special symposium, “New Frontiers in Cancer Research and Care: The Next 50 years”. The symposium, held at Columbia University Vagelos Education Center and via live stream, will feature keynote addresses by Margaret Foti, PhD, MD, chief executive officer at the American Association for Cancer Research, and Ned Sharpless, MD, former director of the National Cancer Institute, along with a series of talks from leading members of the cancer center about the future of cancer research and care at Columbia.

The program will be split into two sessions. One session will focus on exciting innovation advancing cancer research and treatment at Columbia. HICCC members will share their research in data science, artificial intelligence, and microfluidics, as well as explore how newer technologies and innovative approaches to solving cancer could have an impact on how cancer is studied and treated in the future.

The symposium’s second session will be dedicated to the topic of intercepting cancer in our community, exploring topics that go beyond the traditional ideas of cancer risk reduction, spanning genetics for prevention, racial inequities in cancer, and environmental determinants. The session will showcase ideas to end cancer before it even starts on both an individual level and population level.

“This symposium brings together incredible researchers, clinicians, and trainees who are tackling some of the most pressing and interesting topics around cancer, prevention, care, and research today,” says Anil K. Rustgi, MD, director of the HICCC and Irving Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“Right now, we’re at an inflection point in cancer research. We have a better understanding than ever before about the cancer cell and the technology and tools to guide us on how to better prevent and stop cancer. We are thrilled to mark this momentous occasion by celebrating our past, current, and future work to solve cancer.”

Today, the HICCC spans 6 schools across Columbia University, and 38 departments, bringing together world-class expertise with one goal: to end cancer, for good. With more than $30 million in new NCI funding, more than $100 million in research grants, and a new dedicated clinical cancer building planned, the center is poised for a new wave of growth and innovation.