The Abramson Cancer Center has recently celebrated several milestones, changes, and achievements, including the appointment of a new interim director; an "exceptional" rating from the National Cancer Institute in its competitive research funding review; and several milestone anniversaries.
Lerman Named Interim Director
Caryn Lerman, PhD, nationally known for her research on the genetic and neural basis of nicotine addiction, has been named interim director of the Abramson Cancer Center. She succeeds Craig Thompson, MD, who has become president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Lerman, who is director of Penn’s Tobacco Use Research Center, has received numerous awards for her work, including the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology, the Alton Ochsner Award for Research Relating to Smoking and Health, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Control Award. She is a newly elected member of the Institute of Medicine, a current member of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Advisory Council, and president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.
An “Exceptional” Center
During a competitive research funding review, the NCI rated the Abramson Cancer Center as “exceptional.” One of only 40 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, the ACC received the prestigious honor following scientific review and evaluation of essential features of a cancer center. These include the high quality of cancer research, state-of-the art research and patient care facilities, experienced scientific leadership, and the level of collaboration and translation of science to innovative cancer care.
All NCI-designated cancer centers are funded through the P30 Cancer Center Support Grant. These federal awards are given following a competitive, peer-review process that evaluates and ranks applications according to merit.
Among indicators of the Abramson Cancer Center’s leadership in cancer research: Over the past five years, the Cancer Center’s research initiatives have been buoyed by a 41 percent increase in peer-reviewed funding. This intense research focus has had an instant impact on patient care, with a 44 percent increase in new patients over the past five years. During that time, close to 35,000 patients were enrolled in the Center’s interventional and non-interventional clinical trials, and doctors have significantly increased the number of women and minorities involved in research, which is a national priority for creating more effective treatments for a diverse group of patients.
“This rating for the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant reflects the exceptional scientific and leadership capabilities of our investigators and staff, as well as our commitment to reducing the burden of cancer through an integrated program of laboratory, clinical and population-based research," Lerman said.