The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center earns renewal of National Cancer Institute designation

Bar Harbor, Maine – The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center has once again earned the renewal of its Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The NCI Cancer Center program recognizes research institutions throughout the United States that meet “rigorous criteria for world-class, state-of-the-art programs in multidisciplinary cancer research,” as described on the NCI website.

The JAX Cancer Center integrates the three JAX campuses in Bar Harbor, Maine, Sacramento, Calif., and the new Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn. The 50 JAX Cancer Center members include faculty, research scientists and adjunct members who collectively hold more than 100 research grants totaling over $40 million.

The overall research goal is to develop precise interventions to prevent cancer from progressing to an untreatable state. The work leverages The Jackson Laboratory’s strengths in genomics, preclinical modeling, and computational analytics to find the molecular pathways that drive cancer initiation, progression and resistance to therapy. In support of these goals, the renewed grant funding will support innovative projects, the sharing of scientific services and resources among Cancer Centers, and the salaries of new cancer research investigators.

Under the leadership of JAX President and CEO Edison Liu, M.D., the JAX Cancer Center is extending its research partnerships with major academic medical centers and with regional hospitals to move basic discovery science toward clinical application. The growing list of collaborations includes the national cancer research cooperative group SWOG, Children’s Hospital in Hartford, Conn., the University of California, Davis, and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, among others.

Liu acknowledged the significance of the Cancer Center designation, noting, “Already the word of our renewal is out, and we have been approached by a number of other cancer research institutions for potential formal scientific collaborations. This is a powerful way for us to contribute to improving cancer patient outcomes through our research.” 

JAX earned the Cancer Center designation in 1983, when it was the first mammalian genetics research laboratory to do so. Today JAX is one of seven Centers devoted to basic cancer research. (The other 61 Centers are clinically focused, including 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers.)

Barbara J. Tennent, Ph.D., JAX associate director for research administration, has been active in the institution’s Cancer Center from its founding days. She comments, “JAX is a discovery science institute with strong partnerships to move those discoveries toward clinical application.”

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution, with a total staff of more than 1,600. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.