U.S. News & World Report recently released their Best Hospitals for Cancer rankings, providing data-driven insight into which facilities are most successful at eradicating healthcare's public enemy #1.
What makes one hospital better than another in general? What about with respect to oncology/cancer? The common factor among the leading cancer treatment centers is the collaboration between physicians and healthcare scientists, innovative new technologies, treatments, and clinical trials for their development.
While all oncology facilities work toward the end goal of destroying cancer, the tenacity for their work is not the same across the board. The following facilities are working on the cutting edge to rapidly develop and implement new treatments and improve patient outcomes today.
Located in Houston, TX, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ranks #1 on U.S. News & World Report's ranking of best hospitals for cancer treatment in 2017. The center's "Moon Shots Program", inspired by America's ambitious endeavor to send man to the moon, acts as their primary action plan to eliminate cancer via three avenues: innovation, scale, and collaboration.
Boasting 10 different research platforms and one of the largest patient bases among all research hospitals, their goal is find patterns, evaluate treatments, and predict outcomes. Preventive education, clinical trials, and individualized surgeries play a big role in their treatment strategy, in addition to the interdisciplinary collaboration of over 21,000 employees working to end cancer.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, the world's oldest and largest private, adult cancer treatment center, comes in at #2 according to U.S. News & World Report. Up and running for over 130 years, this hospital is one of 47 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Care Centers and takes the approach of collaborative efforts between physicians and scientists to improve patient outcomes.
As a educational institution, the center offers students everything from summer and undergraduate research programs to postdoctoral research and training. Additionally, the Sloan Kettering Institute offers 9 different research programs revolving around the elimination of cancer: cancer biology & genetics, cell biology, chemical biology, computational and systems biology, developmental biology, immunology, molecular biology, molecular pharmacology, and structural biology.
Oncologists employed at the Mayo Clinic, located in Rochester, MN, are well-equipped to fight nearly all types of cancer known, from the most common to rarest. At their facilities in Minnesota and Arizona, Mayo offers an innovative new treatment for cancer: the Proton Beam Therapy Program. This technology is designed to use "spot scanning to deposit streams of protons back and forth through a tumor, closely targeting the tumor and sparing healthy tissue."
There are a few benefits to proton beam therapy over traditional radiation therapy in that it delivers a high dose of radiation to tumors, it is much more accurate, there's significantly lower exposure to normal tissue (reducing side effects and long-term costs), and it acts as a new option for those who've had cancer recurrences.
Boston, MA's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been in operation for 70 years and conducts over 700 innovative clinical trials per year. Although the mission is the same as others on this list, the logistics of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's research facilities have been streamlined, keeping with founder Sidney Farber, MD's vision of a facility in which scientists in upper-floor laboratories who make discoveries could quickly apply those discoveries to cancer treatments in the clinics located on lower floors.
As such, their primary cancer center, the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, is located adjacent to the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Research Laboratories, and are connected with enclosed bridges use for exchanges between physicians and scientists. The interconnectedness this structure offers is an ease of communication between healthcare professionals that ultimately leads to better patient outcomes.
UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, located in Los Angeles, CA, has made a big name for itself since the 1960's, establishing itself as an authority in providing the best in experimental and traditional cancer treatments. The center's more than 500 physicians and scientists treat more than 20,000 patient visits per year in addition to conducting hundreds of clinical trials in experimental cancer treatments.
The JCCC has pioneered innovations in the field including Dr. Dennis Slamon's discovery of the relationship between the HER-2/neu gene and an aggressive form of breast cancer, leading to the development and FDA approval of Herceptin, the first approved treaetment that attacks cancer at its genetic roots and Dr. Antoni Ribas's Keytruda - an immunotherapy that's the first of its kind that was approved by the FDA in September 2014 to treat advanced melanoma.
Located in Tampa, FL, the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-certified treatment center in the state. The facility boasts 5 primary research programs: cancer biology and evolution, cancer epidemiology, chemical biology and molecular medicine, health outcomes and behavior, and immunology.
Physicians and scientists are encouraged to form teams around a given topic, no matter how informal or "out of the box" it may seem. This openness and a drive for excellence is what has led Moffitt to being among the best cancer research facilities in the country.
U.S. News & World report puts the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at #7 on their ranking of the best hospitals for cancer treatment. This alliance is made up of the University of Washington Medical Center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children's Hospital and is geared toward collaborating to improve patient outcomes in whatever way possible.
The alliance shares 6 laboratories: the Busulfan Lab or Pharmacokinetics Lab specializing in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, the Alliance Laboratory which provides phlebotomy, sample processing, clinical laboratory diagnostics, and sample referral services, the Swim Across America Cellular Therapy Lab which is responsible for processing, testing, storing, transporting, and assisting with the infusion of cellular therapy products, the Clinical Immunogenetics Laboratory which provides clinical services including HLA typing of patients, the Clinical Pathology Lab responsible for providing diagnostic pathology services and carrying out hematopoietic stem cell research, and the Cytogenetics Laboratory that performs molecular cytogenetic analysis of bone marrow and peripheral blood specimens.
The Taussig Cancer Institute, part of the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH, offers a wide array of cancer treatment options and functions as a primary research facility for battling the disease in the Ohio area. Their current research labs cover blood & marrow transplants, breast cancer, brain tumors, genomics, and translational hematology & oncology.
They feature clinical trials focused on many different aspects of cancer research, including Tissue and Body Fluid Analysis from Renal Cell Cancer Patients, Hematologic Malignancies, and Thoracic Radiotherapy Regimens in Patients with Limited Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Located in Baltimore, MD, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center is on the cutting-edge of technology and cancer research, with its researchers being the first to complete the map of a cancer genome and the first to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines and perform bone marrow transplants to treat blood and immune-forming cancers.
Current ongoing research programs a Johns Hopkins include brain cancer, breast & ovarian cancer, cancer biology, cancer chemical & structural biology, cancer immunology, cancer molecular & functional imaging, cancer prevention & control, hematologic malignancies & bone marrow transplant, and prostate cancer.
UCSF's Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, CA has seen a 79% growth in clinical trial accruals since 2007 as a result of their expanding infrastructure and the launch of an early-phase trials unit.
Their research programs are supported by the National Cancer Institute and include breast oncology, cancer control, cancer genetics, cancer, immunity, and microenvironment, developmental therapeutics, hematopoietic malignancies, neurologic oncology, pediatric malignancies, prostate cancer, and tobacco control.