The National Cancer Institute (NCI) renewed its grant to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Cancer Center on September 15, 2021 with an award of $4.5 million. Currently led by CSHL Professor David Tuveson, the Cancer Center is committed to exploring the fundamental biology of human cancer. CSHL first received funding and formal National Cancer Institute designation as a Basic Laboratory Cancer Center in 1987.
Originally founded in 1890 as a field station to train academics and local residents, the Laboratory has been conducting formal research since 1904. Over the years, CSHL has reached many milestones in cancer biology, like: the discovery of one of the first human oncogenes (a mutated gene with the potential to cause cancer); the discovery of errors in RNA editing that modify cancer signals; and Human Genome Project meetings.
In 2010, after making groundbreaking discoveries in cancer models and basic research, the Laboratory launched the Cancer Therapeutics Initiative (pdf) to discover new targets for cancer drugs. The program aimed to develop treatments for a wide range of diseases and cancers. CSHL scientists also started collaborating more closely with cancer clinicians. In 2015, the Laboratory announced its strategic affiliation with Northwell Health, speeding the translation of basic discoveries into new treatments for patients.
The Laboratory’s cancer research is divided into three areas: genetics and genomics, cellular communication, and gene regulation and inheritance. Dozens of CSHL researchers cover a broad range of cancer types, such as breast, prostate, leukemia, glioma, pancreatic, sarcoma, lung, and melanoma. Recently, the Laboratory added a new organoid facility and a whole-body physiology program housed in Demerec Building, both of which contribute new perspectives on modern cancer studies.
The NCI Cancer Centers Program was created as part of the National Cancer Act of 1971 and leads the nation’s cancer research effort. The program recognizes centers around the country that use state-of-the-art research to develop new and better approaches for preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer. There are 71 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide that are funded by NCI to deliver cutting-edge cancer treatments to patients.