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NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell creates world-class cancer center

NEW YORK -- NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has expanded its cancer program into a new center dedicated to advancing research, prevention and treatment of the disease with strengthened and expanded research programs and multidisciplinary collaborations.

The new center is led by renowned cancer physician-scientist Andrew Dannenberg.

"This bold initiative will build on our strengths to create a cancer center dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients," said Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC). "By our commitment to advancing cancer research from bench to bedside, we will fulfill our mission of unlocking scientific and medical discoveries to improve lives around the globe."

Added Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital: "Our goal is to transform what is already an excellent cancer program into a renowned cancer center, investing in areas where we have historic strength -- such as lymphoma, lung cancer, genitourinary and preventive oncology -- while establishing new programs that can be uniquely identified with NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell."

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, noted David P. Hajjar, senior executive vice dean and executive vice provost of WCMC and dean of Weill Cornell's Graduate School of Medical Sciences. "While scientific progress continues, close to 1.5 million people will be diagnosed this year," he said. "New ideas are desperately needed to understand why cancers form, grow and spread and how to contain them, predict them and ultimately prevent them."

In conjunction with this new center, WCMC has committed 10 new positions for cancer biologists, Hajjar added.

"The key to the success of this initiative will be collaboration and team science. Our program will facilitate interactions between physicians and scientists from a wide variety of fields -- everything from hematology and oncology to radiology, surgery, urology, genetics, pediatrics, immunology, pharmacology, even communication sciences -- helping them to create synergies that might not otherwise exist," said Dannenberg, the Henry R. Erle, M.D.-Roberts Family Professor of Medicine at WCMC and a leading gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/WCMC, noting that the multidisciplinary collaborations will extend to Cornell in Ithaca, WCMC-Qatar and the Methodist Hospital in Houston.

A leading authority in cancer prevention, Dannenberg has pioneered research helping to understand the link between inflammation and cancer -- and to elucidate the mechanisms by which such nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as aspirin reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. Dannenberg has held a series of leadership positions in the American Association for Cancer Research and serves on the editorial boards of several leading basic science and clinical oncology journals.

"We also aim to improve our physical infrastructure with additional lab space and shared resources to stimulate the advances that are so badly needed," Dannenberg added.

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Lezlie Greenberg