Press Release May 12, 2020

National Cancer Institute Renews Jackson Laboratory’s Cancer Center Designation

The Jackson Laboratory Headquarters in Bar Harbor, Maine

Nonprofit Research Laboratory Receives Continued Recognition, Funding to Support World-Class Cancer Research

The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) today announced that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has renewed JAX’s prestigious Cancer Center Support Grant for the 34th year. As one of only seven basic research centers with this distinction in the U.S., and the only NCI-designated Center headquartered in Maine, JAX was recognized for its focus on advancing precision oncology through basic research discoveries with the goal of translational and clinical impact. In total, the NCI Cancer Center program recognizes 71 organizations for being at the forefront of cancer research efforts in the United States.

 “The dedicated scientists at The Jackson Laboratory are making great strides to conquer diseases that affect nearly every American family,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “For decades, JAX has conducted cutting-edge research to better understand and treat cancer, and we welcome this continued funding to help JAX build on these important efforts.”

 “The Jackson Laboratory does important work that contributes to our understanding of medical conditions and makes Mainers proud. I’m glad to see their cutting-edge cancer research once again being recognized and supported by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Center Support Grant. The research done at JAX, with grant support from places like the NCI, is an important step towards better cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment,” says Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02).

 “With our focus on complex genetics and functional genomics, coupled with the scale of our model creation and research, and the integration of JAX’s diverse and multidisciplinary talents, The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center (JAXCC) is a truly unique program,” said Edison T. Liu, M.D., president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory, and director of the JAXCC. “We’re honored to be recognized by National Cancer Institute with this Cancer Center Support Grant renewal and to continue our important work to help people around the country and around the world impacted by cancer.”

 The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center’s research program, Genetic Models for Precision Cancer Medicine, unites the nonprofit’s resources in cancer model development, computational sciences, genetic engineering, phenotyping, as well as genome and single-cell technologies to provide comprehensive support for a wide-range of cancer research.

 The JAX Cancer Center is led by a focused, professional team.   Edison Liu, M.D.Conducts research focused on the functional genomics of breast cancer through an exploration of the entire genomic space.Edison T. Liu, M.D. , director, researches the functional genomics of breast cancer through an exploration of the entire genomic space.  Karolina Palucka, M.D., Ph.D.Conducts research to understand how vaccines work and to define precisely the immune mechanisms that underlie vaccination, with a focus on cancer immunotherapies.Karolina Palucka, M.D., Ph.D. , deputy director, conducts research to understand how vaccines work and to precisely define the immune mechanisms that underlie vaccination, with a focus on cancer immunotherapies.  Jennifer Trowbridge, Ph.D.Researches regulation of stem cells in the blood in normal development, aging and leukemia transformation.Jennifer Trowbridge, Ph.D. , co-program leader, researches regulation of stem cells in the blood in normal development, aging and leukemia transformation.  Roel Verhaak, Ph.D.Brain tumors, sequencing, computational biology.Roel Verhaak, Ph.D. , co-program leader - researches brain tumors, sequencing and computational biology. Susan Airhart, JAX Cancer Center's Associate Director, oversees research administration. 

JAX is a leader in mammalian genetics and genomics research and education, and is a major provider of genetic resources to the global scientific community. The JAXCC was the first mammalian genetics research laboratory to receive NCI-designation in 1983. Today, the JAXCC has over 50 members in JAX’s facilities in Bar Harbor, Maine and Farmington, Connecticut. These researchers focus on understanding and targeting the genomic complexity of cancer, and they utilize JAX’s unique capabilities to model human cancers in mice, with the goal of developing innovations in genomic and computational analytics of human cancers.

In addition to this research, the JAXCC also now includes a Cancer Education and Career Enhancement core. The JAXCC hosts a variety of courses and conferences designed to maximize professional scientific interaction for established cancer researchers and students alike. Research training and education opportunities include a postdoctoral training program; internationally attended courses, conferences and workshops; research internships for high school and college students; along with opportunities for Maine in-service science teachers and science teachers-in-training. The JAXCC also provides mentored research internships for high school and college students in residential programs, with a strong emphasis on underrepresented minority participation.

 About The National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers Program

The NCI Cancer Centers Program was created as part of the National Cancer Act of 1971 and is one of the anchors of the nation’s cancer research effort. Through this program, NCI recognizes centers around the country that meet rigorous standards for transdisciplinary, state-of-the-art research focused on developing new and better approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.