Research Programs

Our Research Focus

The only path to a cure for cancer is research. As the state of the science rapidly advances, it is clear that to improve how we diagnose, treat and some day prevent cancer, we must learn to evaluate each cancer diagnosis as a one-of-a-kind event. That means understanding the molecular mechanisms cancers use to develop and spread, and how those mechanisms are influenced by the unique genetic fingerprint of each individual patient. At our Cancer Center, this challenge, known as personalized oncology, is the foundation for all our research efforts.

Making the promise of personalized oncology a reality requires the highest levels of collaboration, even tapping experts from areas not usually associated with medicine, such as engineering and mathematics. It also means an increased commitment to translational research - to converting promising discoveries made in our labs into targeted therapies for our patients - and to do so more rapidly than ever before. In several novel clinical trials, including those coordinated within the Cancer Center's Ravitz Foundation Phase I Translational Research Center, we are already testing and advancing a number of therapies personalized to the unique profile of a patient's cancer. Within the next decade, we believe this customized approach will be the new standard of care in cancer.

From the caliber of our members to the design of our facilities, the U-M Cancer Center was built to foster a culture of discovery, where everyone is committed to asking and answering cancer's toughest questions. As our commitment to personalized cancer care shows, we continue to evolve with the pace of that discovery.

  • Currently, more than 365 University of Michigan faculty members also maintain active membership in the Cancer Center. View an alphabetical listing of current members.
  • Our members represent more than 40 departments across 12 U-M schools.
  • Cancer Center members are required to maintain an active practice in the clinical care of patients and/or to collaborate in basic, clinical or population research.
  • U-M cancer researchers receive more funding from the National Cancer Institute than those from any other medical school in the country - evidence of the limitless potential of our work.

Why support research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Cancer research is an investment in a healthier future. Every dollar devoted to scientific research has the potential to transform the cancer landscape for today's patients as well as tomorrow's.

Although large-scale publicly funded research is essential to advancing medical science, it is private donors who are responsible for planting the seeds of discovery. No institution is more successful in obtaining federal grant funding for cancer research than Michigan. What's behind that success rate? Private donor support. The reality of research funding is that, before even one grant dollar is awarded, investigators need to conduct preliminary studies to confirm that the ideas they are pursuing have merit. That "seed money" comes from private philanthropy. Our track record in leveraging private gifts into grants speaks for itself: on average, one dollar of private support for U-M cancer research generates $20 in grant funding. Learn how your gift can generate this impressive return on investment.

Our Research Portfolio

Today, the Cancer Center is home to 22 different research programs: 6 programs conducting basic science research (laboratory studies), 14 focused on clinical research (studies involving the participation of patients), and two dedicated to developing and testing strategies for cancer prevention and control.

Basic Science Programs:

  • Cancer Cell Biology
  • Cancer Genetics
  • Experimental Therapeutics
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Radiation Sciences
  • Tumor Immunology and Host Response Program - (developing program)

Clinical Research Programs:

  • Breast Oncology
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Childhood Cancers (developing program)
  • Connective Tissue (Sarcoma)
  • Cutaneous Oncology
  • Endocrine Oncology
  • Gastrointestinal Oncology
  • Gynecologic Oncology (developing program)
  • Head & Neck Oncology
  • Hematologic Malignancies-BMT
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Psych Oncology
  • Neuro Oncology
  • Thoracic Oncology

Prevention & Control Programs:

  • Biomedical Prevention
  • Socio-Behavioral Prevention

SPORE Programs:

In addition to our established and developing research programs, the Cancer Center has been awarded three Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants by the National Cancer Institute. Through its involvement in the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC), U-M plays a key role in a fourth SPORE in sarcoma. Only a select number of SPORE grants are awarded to investigative groups at the nation's top institutions. Funding associated with these prestigious and comprehensive programs supports both basic and clinical research focusing on prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of specific cancers.

Updated 06.2014

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