The Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) at the University of Pennsylvania announced today that it is joining the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) as its 28th member institution. The ACC joins top academic cancer centers from across the United States in creating the most frequently updated cancer care guidelines worldwide. The ACC's membership includes the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"The Abramson Cancer Center is leading the charge of the immunorevolution, with research that has led to four new FDA-approved cancer drugs this year alone," said Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center. "We're energized to share our expertise with the NCCN, as well as for the chance to collaborate with other Member Institutions to ensure patients across the country are receiving the best possible care."
Clinicians and scientists from the ACC will join more than 1,300 experts from current NCCN Member Institutions to work together across 53 panels to review the latest innovations and approvals in cancer care in order to update the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®). There are currently 73 different NCCN Guidelines, which apply to 97 percent of cancers affecting patients in the United States, plus recommendations for related conditions like nausea, fatigue, distress, or immunotherapy-related toxicities.
The ACC's expertise is especially highlighted by its role as global pioneers in new approaches to cancer treatment, particularly in personalized cellular therapies and proton beam radiation. Penn developed the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) therapy, which has since been approved for a second indication and in multiple countries. The approach has successfully eradicated blood cancer in hundreds of patients around the world. Studies show it leads to overall remission rates of 80 percent among acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients whose cancer could not be contained by the standard chemotherapies doctors have relied on for decades.
"The Abramson Cancer Center is a perfect fit and wonderful addition to the group of leading cancer centers that comprise NCCN," said Robert W. Carlson, MD, the chief executive officer of the NCCN. "Penn Medicine is one of the pioneers for immunotherapy and is also at the forefront for innovative treatment approaches involving stem cell transplantation, genetics, palliative care, pediatric cancer care, pediatrics, and other areas. Penn Medicine also shares NCCN's commitment to improving care for underserved populations in the United States and abroad. We look forward to working together to make sure people with cancer everywhere receive the very best evidence-based care possible."
"Our experience bringing cancer treatment to patients all over the world has given us a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities involved, and our experts are looking forward to collaborating on these issues with fellow experts from other NCCN Member Institutions," said Lawrence Shulman, MD, the deputy director for Clinical Services at the ACC. Shulman also serves as chair of the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer.
NCCN will soon begin the process of incorporating experts from the ACC onto current and future NCCN Guidelines Panels. The group was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
"Our Member Institutions represent some of the best care available across the country. The addition of the Abramson Cancer Center serves to further strengthen our network," said Gary J. Weyhmuller, MBA, SPHR, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at NCCN.