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MD Anderson Cancer Center profile

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world’s most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. It is located in central Houston on the Texas Medical Center campus.

MD Anderson was created in 1941 as part of The University of Texas System. The institution is one of the nation’s original three comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Act of 1971 and is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers today.

U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” survey ranked MD Anderson as the top hospital in the nation for cancer care in 2013. It has achieved this highest ranking 10 times in the past 12 years and has ranked as one of the top two hospitals for cancer care since the magazine began its annual survey in 1990.

Patient care

Since 1944, about 900,000 patients have turned to MD Anderson for cancer care in the form of targeted therapies, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and proton therapy, immunotherapy, or combinations of these and other treatments. The multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer was pioneered at MD Anderson. This brings together teams of experts across disciplines to collaborate on the best treatment plan for patients. And because MD Anderson's experts focus solely on cancer, they’re renowned for treating all types of cancer, including rare or uncommon diseases.

In Fiscal Year 2012, MD Anderson provided cancer care for about 115,000 patients. Of those, nearly one-third were new patients. About one-third of patients come to Houston from outside Texas, seeking the knowledge-based care that has made MD Anderson so widely respected. There were about 8,500 registrants on clinical trials exploring novel therapies and diagnostic tests in FY12, making it the largest such program in the nation.

MD Anderson is the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center with its own Emergency Center, which manages acute pain and emergent events that affect its patients. In FY12, more than 22,000 people were treated there and about 11,000 of those patients were admitted to the hospital for further observation or treatment.

The Institute for Cancer Care Innovation is helping MD Anderson lead the way in developing an improved cancer care model through studies that determine the best methods to deliver care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, equitable and patient-centered.

National organizations recognize MD Anderson for these and other qualities. The Joint Commission, a nonprofit hospital accreditation group, reaccredited 
MD Anderson in 2011. The institution's radiation oncology practice was accredited in 2011 by the American College of Radiology and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. In 2010, MD Anderson was redesignated with Magnet Nursing Services Recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, an honor it first received in 2001.


At MD Anderson, important scientific knowledge gained in the laboratory is rapidly translated to clinical care. Overall, MD Anderson's research program is considered one of the most productive efforts in the world aimed solely at cancer.

In FY12, MD Anderson invested more than $647 million in research, an increase of 33% in the past five years. The institution ranks first in the number of research grants awarded and total amount of grant funds given by the NCI and holds 12 NCI Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants in the following cancers: bladder, brain, breast, head and neck, leukemia, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and uterine.

A new Moon Shots Program has launched to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths. The program brings together multidisciplinary groups of researchers and clinicians to mount comprehensive attacks on eight cancers initially. They'll work as part of six moon shot teams: acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers, which are linked at the molecular level.

Creation of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science has expanded MD Anderson's research endeavors. The institute's goal is to identify and validate new cancer targets, convert the scientific knowledge into new cancer drugs, and advance the novel agents into innovative clinical trials through a streamlined collaboration between academic medicine and the biotechnology industry.

The new Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy is an international center of clinical excellence focusing on using the latest advances in genetic information to develop safer, more effective treatments for patients on a case-by-case basis.

The McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer comprises seven translational research centers focused on genomics, proteomics, screening, diagnostic imaging and drug development. They include the Cancer Metastasis Research Center, Center for Cancer Immunology Research, Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Center for Molecular Markers, Proton Therapy Center, Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Research, Center for Targeted Therapy and Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNAs.

In the Institute for Basic Science, researchers are working to better understand the makeup of healthy human cells, how they function under normal conditions and what happens when cancer develops. This knowledge will feed directly into clinical research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.


In FY12, nearly 7,500 trainees, including physicians, scientists, nurses and allied health professionals, took part in MD Anderson educational programs. More than 300 students attended the institution’s School of Health Professions, which offers bachelor's degrees in eight allied health disciplines. The school is launching a master of science in diagnostic genetics program in 2013.

More than 1,100 clinical residents and fellows come to MD Anderson each year to receive specialized training in the investigation and treatment of cancer. More than 550 graduate students are working on advanced degrees at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, which MD Anderson operates with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The institution's laboratories provide training for 1,700-plus research fellows.

Thousands more participate in continuing education and distance learning opportunities sponsored by MD Anderson, sharing knowledge around the globe. The institution also provides public education programs to teach healthy people and at-risk populations about cancer symptoms and risk factors, offering information that can help them make critical health care decisions.


MD Anderson continues to set the standard in cancer prevention research and the translation of new knowledge into innovative, multidisciplinary care for patients, survivors and people at average or elevated risk for developing cancer.

The Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences is dedicated to eradicating cancer through pioneering research in the roles that biologic, genetic, environmental, behavioral and social factors play in cancer development and investigations of behavioral, surgical, medical and social interventions to prevent or reduce cancer risk.

Through the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment, the division is investing in promising new research directions and integrating basic research and clinical studies to accelerate their translation from the clinic to the community.

The new Department of Health Services Research is focused on studying health care costs, quality and access, and seeking ways to improve health care delivery, safety, availability and affordability.

The Cancer Prevention Center provides cancer risk assessments, screening exams based on genetics, age and gender, and personalized risk-reduction strategies, including chemoprevention.

Human resources

MD Anderson employs more than 19,000 people, including more than 1,600 faculty. A volunteer corps of about 1,248 contributed more than 192,152 hours of service in FY12, equal to 92 full-time employees. 

All are dedicated to MD Anderson's core values of caring, integrity and discovery. Together they work toward fulfilling MD Anderson's mission of eliminating cancer as a major health threat.

MD Anderson has been recognized as a top employer for its wellness programs, for workers 50 and older by the American Association of Retired Persons and for its employment practices for employees with disabilities. It also earned the No. 5 spot in's 2013 rankings of the nation's Best Places to Work.


With employees working in more than 50 buildings in the Greater Houston area and in central Texas, MD Anderson is the largest freestanding cancer center in the world.

MD Anderson's facilities in the TMC cover more than 14 million square feet and feature the latest equipment and facilities to support growing needs in outpatient and inpatient care, research, prevention and education.

Recently completed construction projects include two new research buildings on 
MD Anderson's South Campus, the addition of nine floors that can accommodate more than 300 new inpatient beds in the Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Hospital on the North Campus and a 25-floor building on the Mid Campus to support current office space and future growth needs.

The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalized Cancer Care is under construction. The 12-floor, 615,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in August 2014.

In addition to MD Anderson’s main campus in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, four regional care centers in the greater Houston area (Bay Area, Katy, Sugar Land, The Woodlands) and two research campuses in Bastrop County, Texas, the institution has developed a network of national and international locations.

MD Anderson Cancer Network

Partner members

Certified members

MD Anderson affiliates

Updated October 2013

MD Anderson: Quick look

Created: 1941

First patient: 1944 (more than 900,000 patients treated overall)

Ranking: No. 1 in cancer care, America’s Best Hospitals, U.S. News and World Report (top-ranked 10 of past 12 years)

Employees: 19,655

Faculty: 1,671

Volunteers: 1,200

Trainees: 6,474

Average number of operating beds: 656

Research grants: No. 1 in grants awarded and total grant dollars by the National Cancer Institute

Active clinical research protocols: 1,065 (about 7,600 patient registrants)

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center