Sanford Burnham Prebys Cancer Center earns merit extension from NCI

Ze'ev Ronai and scientists in  Cancer Center hallway

Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Cancer Center has received a rare and prestigious Merit Extension Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), recognizing and rewarding its earlier accomplishments as well as current research plans. The award extends the center’s current 5-year Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) for an additional two years.

There are only seven Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers in the NCI’s national network. These centers focus primarily on laboratory research: developing, conducting, translating and advancing fundamental discoveries to clinical testing and, ultimately, new and better treatments in collaboration with other centers and institutions.

“We pride ourselves on performing impactful research that addresses unmet clinical needs relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer,” says Cancer Center director Ze’ev Ronai, Ph.D. “Receiving this merit extension is a prestigious honor, and we appreciate that the NCI recognizes the progress we’ve made and shares our unique plans for the future.”

The Cancer Center has been a defining element of Sanford Burnham Prebys almost since the institute was founded in 1976 as the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation. The center received its initial NCI designation in 1981. It has successfully renewed its CCSG grant eight times.

The Cancer Center encompasses three main programs: Cancer Genome and Epigenetics, Cancer Metabolism and Microenvironment and Cancer Molecular Therapeutics, which encompass a unique partnership between early discovery (programs 1,2) and early drug development, enabled by the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, the largest nonprofit drug discovery center in the United States.

The merit extension provides the Cancer Center with additional time and resources to pursue longer-term projects and implement an ambitious strategic plan for the Cancer Center, which focus on the establishment of a unique continuum from basic discovery to drug development, recruitment of top talent and training programs which focus on innovative DEI initiatives.

“I’ve worked with three different cancer centers in my career, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen the NCI give a merit extension,” says David Brenner, M.D., president and CEO of Sanford Burnham Prebys “This is a tremendous accomplishment for everybody who works at our Cancer Center, and this extra two years gives us the latitude to continue doing what we do best: discovering life-saving cancer treatments.”

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