MD Anderson celebrates World Cancer Research Day

Effort highlights importance of impactful, collaborative research to drive advances in early cancer detection, prevention, treatment and survivorship

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center again supports World Cancer Research Day, Sept. 24, and its goals to highlight the importance of cancer research, to promote scientific collaboration and to reduce the global burden of cancer through improved prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship strategies.

Launched in 2016, World Cancer Research Day is an international effort now supported by more than 120 organizations to raise awareness and encourage collaboration. This year’s theme, “Support Research to Prevent Cancer and Catch it Early,” focuses on the importance of cancer prevention, addressing health disparities and advocating for access to effective screening and early detection practices for all communities.

MD Anderson is home to one of the largest and most developed cancer prevention programs in the nation, and its experts lead research and education efforts that aid communities by helping them develop healthy lifestyle choices and by providing early detection screening that can significantly reduce the risk of cancer or catch it at its earliest stages. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the institution works to eliminate health disparities in cancer and to translate research discoveries into clinical advances using evidence-based detection and prevention strategies.

One of many examples is MD Anderson’s Pre-Cancer Atlas project, which is led by teams of researchers to generate a comprehensive biological roadmap of pre-cancer development in order to discover avenues for cancer interception. By gaining a better understanding of the path from pre-cancer to cancer, researchers hope to design strategies to intervene before cells become malignant.

“The current focus of World Cancer Research Day aligns with our own mission, as we recognize the tremendous impact of evidence-based prevention and early detection research and strategies,” said Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer. “Research is fundamental to everything we do at MD Anderson, and we are proud to have some of the best minds in the world working collaboratively to advance breakthroughs across the spectrum of cancer science in order to improve the lives of the patients and communities we serve.”

For more than 80 years, MD Anderson has focused on creating integrated and comprehensive programs that allow scientists to advance impactful discovery, prevention, translational and clinical research that can provide meaningful benefits to patients. Last fiscal year alone, the institution invested more than $1.03 billion in research and led the nation in cancer research funding through the National Institutes of Health.

The unique ability of scientists and physicians to seamlessly collaborate and share insights in an ongoing cycle of innovation, is a hallmark of what makes the environment at MD Anderson exceptionally suited to drive breakthroughs at an unmatched pace.

Findings from the lab can be rapidly translated to the clinic by leveraging established research platforms and programs, such as the institution’s Therapeutics Discovery division, which accelerates the discovery and development of life-saving medicines. MD Anderson leads one of the largest clinical trials programs in the world, with more than 1,300 currently active clinical trials, to evaluate novel drugs, diagnostics and treatment strategies. In the previous fiscal year, the institution was awarded nearly 200 patents and its researchers contributed work for 29 drugs that received FDA approval.

In the spirit of collaborative progress, MD Anderson also is proud to host the upcoming Leading Edge of Cancer Research Symposium from Nov. 17-18. Open to all researchers, the virtual event is an opportunity to facilitate discussions on important and emerging topics in the field. The symposium features presentations on therapeutic strategies and clinical data science as well as a panel discussion on patient-focused research and high-value cancer care.  

MD Anderson actively strives to enable the next wave of breakthroughs by recruiting exceptional researchers from all disciplines and backgrounds, as well as providing education and training programs to support the next generation of cancer scientists. The institution has multiple faculty and research positions available for those committed to the institution’s collective mission to end cancer. Find more information on available positions here.