News Release: Emory Healthcare, Research, Winship Cancer Institute

Apr. 13,  2009

Emory's Winship Cancer Institute Announces NCI Cancer Center Designation

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Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute has earned the coveted National Cancer Institute Cancer Center designation. Winship is the first medical facility in Georgia to earn this distinction. As an NCI designated center, Winship joins an elite group of 64 cancer centers nationwide that are on the forefront of the battle against cancer. 

Winship's NCI designation will benefit patients through increased access to new clinical trials and technologies that are available through NCI-designated cancer centers. 

"We are very proud of Emory's Winship Cancer Institute for achieving this important designation," says Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. "Cancer strikes more than 35,000 Georgians each year, and through initiatives like the Georgia Cancer Coalition and the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), we are working hard to eliminate this disease. Winship has served as a model in establishing collaborative research programs and in working statewide to address the pressing issues related to treatment, education and access to care for cancer patients."

As an NCI-designated center, Winship will receive $4,285,191 in funding over the next three years to grow scientific research. The NCI will then review Emory's designation for a five-year renewal. According to the NCI, a designated cancer center's research components are the core of a much larger assembly of cancer activities, including clinical care, support services and education, extending the benefits of research directly to patients, their families, and the general public.

"This designation is a tremendous honor and a reflection of the hard work and dedication that is exhibited by faculty and staff throughout the Emory system," says Brian Leyland-Jones, MD, PhD, executive director of Winship, associate vice president for health affairs for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and a GRA Eminent Scholar. "The designation enables us to continue to develop research initiatives that will result in new therapies for patients throughout Georgia and beyond."   

James Wagner, president of Emory University, says, "Winship's culture of collaboration and discovery will continue to grow thanks to NCI's designation. There are many people to thank for their dedication, involvement and belief in attaining this goal. Chief among these are the Woodruff Foundation and the State of Georgia who deserve recognition for their vision and steadfast support. And while this is an important day for Emory, it is cancer patients and their family members, whether they live in Georgia or beyond our borders, who are the true beneficiaries of this designation."   

The Winship Cancer Institute is part of Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory Healthcare and Emory University. Researchers and clinical members of the cancer center are faculty at Emory or at partner institutions such as Georgia Institute of Technology. Faculty members collaborate with national and state agencies, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society.

Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, Emory executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, praised Winship's faculty and staff for the achievement.

"NCI Cancer Center designation is an important chapter in Winship's long and impressive history," says Sanfilippo. "Winship's faculty and staff have devoted many years to achieving this goal and deserve recognition for this achievement. The designation is a milestone that will serve as a turning point for Winship and our patients. We are on the brink of great advances in cancer research, and our ability to translate those advances into therapy is significantly enhanced by the NCI's designation."

John Fox, president and CEO of Emory Healthcare points to the positive impact the NCI designation will have for patients. 

"In awarding this designation, the NCI is recognizing the emphasis we place on translating science into care," he says. "Winship has successfully developed a culture of multidisciplinary care that places patients at the center of everything we do, from scientific research to providing support services that include loved ones and family members."

The Winship Cancer Institute was established in 1937 through a $50,000 gift to Emory from Coca Cola CEO Robert Woodruff, who named the center after his grandfather, Robert Winship. Woodruff's vision was for a center that focused on research, education and patient care. The Woodruff Foundation has continued to support Emory in achieving this vision, and in 2002 Emory dedicated the 275,000 square-foot Winship Cancer Institute building, constructed with funds from the Woodruff Foundation and designed to facilitate development of new and more effective cancer treatments. 

Leyland-Jones maintains this historical perspective in his role as director of Winship. 

"Robert Woodruff's vision – that no one should have to leave Georgia to receive excellent cancer care – is alive and well in Winship and our partner organizations such as the Georgia Cancer Coalition and the Georgia Research Alliance," he says. "These partnerships will help extend the positive impact of the NCI designation throughout our state and to the nation."

Recently, Emory was recognized as one of the top 50 cancer centers in the United States by U.S. News and World Report and received the Blue Cross Blue Shield Designation for Treatment of Rare and Complex Cancers. 


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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