Intellect and discovery characterize growth at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute (PSHCI). We continue to emphasize our state-of-the-art interdisciplinary patient care, in which medical, surgical and radiation oncologists jointly determine the best therapeutic course for each patient. We also focus our attention on becoming designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Among other strengths, our focus when applying for NCI designation will be underlined by the Cancer Institute's emphasis on rural, underserved populations. Many of these efforts are conducted through the Appalachian Cancer Network by volunteers throughout Pennsylvania who provide education and screening services, as well as behavioral interventions, to reduce cancer risk. The addition our new cancer facility which opened in June of 2009 has greatly enhanced the integration of our research and clinical care. Clinical floors house radiation oncology and multidisciplinary medical and surgical oncology. Clinic space includes an infusion area and a day hospital for bone marrow transplant patients. There is significant laboratory space to accommodate continued recruitment of cancer investigators. The design of the building reinforces our concept of a community of individuals devoted to providing comprehensive cancer care and finding a cure for cancer.
There has been significant development in the Cancer Institute's four scientific programs: Cancer Virology and Immunology, Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention, Cancer Control and Population Health, and Experimental Therapeutics. A training grant aimed at developing investigators in the area of viruses and cancer was funded by NCI. The scientists in the Cancer Control and Population Health and Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemo-prevention Programs continue collaborative work on two major grants examining the role of tobacco in leading to cancer. In the Experimental Therapeutics Program, our scientists have been awarded several grants from NCI in the area of nanotechnology. These projects, developed with leading researchers at University Park, are aimed at delivering new cancer treatments to individual cancer cells. Through our network of local hospitals throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania, the Penn State Cancer Institute brings research to patients in a growing number of communities. Founding members of the network include Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health System, Allentown, and Mount Nittany Hospital and Health System, State College. Affiliates include Lewistown Hospital, Lewistown; Wyoming Valley Health System, Wilkes-Barre; and Susquehanna Health System, Williamsport.
We continue to expand our research programs. PSHCI now has 143 investigators from 25 academic departments in six colleges located at the Hershey and University Park campuses. Over the past five years, our NCI funding has increased by 16% with a 22% increase in the past 3 years. This is quite impressive given the funding crisis at the NIH. We are making similar strides in the area of clinical trials. In the past year, 18% of our new cancer patients were enrolled on a therapeutic or prevention trial.
Thomas P. Loughran, Jr., M.D.
Director, Penn State Cancer Institute