Our NCI Designation

The UNM Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI) - designated cancer center in the state of New Mexico. We are one of only 51 cancer centers in the nation to be designated by the NCI as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest federal designation and rating for cancer centers.

If an area the size of New Mexico is superimposed on the United States Eastern Seaboard, it covers the territories served by more than 20 NCI-designated cancer centers. Satellite image courtesy of NASA.

As a comprehensive cancer center, we:

Deliver the highest quality, comprehensive cancer diagnosis and treatment. We are home to the state’s largest team of cancer physicians: 124 doctors in every cancer specialty recruited from the finest medical schools in the country and the world. They are supported by our 600-person staff, who work with them to develop a personalized treatment plan for each one of our patients.

Provide access to the newest cancer treatments in clinical trials. Working with our community partners, we built the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, a statewide network that provides access to new cancer drugs and treatments in more than 175 clinical studies each year. The NCI considers the Alliance to be an “exemplary national model for cancer health care delivery.” Through the Alliance, people throughout New Mexico can have access to clinical trials. We are also developing our ORIEN project, which will allow all of our patients the opportunity to have their cancer tissues genetically sequenced. Using this sequencing, we will be able to match them to the most promising new treatments, now and in the future.

Conduct world-class research. Our 132 cancer scientists are supported by more than $34.5 million annually. They work with our research partners at Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratories and Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, as well as with collaborators at New Mexico State University and other institutions. Our scientists have developed new diagnostics and drugs for leukemia, melanoma and cancers of the breast, ovaries, prostate, liver, pancreas and brain. Since 2010, they have garnered 33 new patents and 117 patents pending and have launched 13 new biotechnology companies.

Educate the next generation of cancer physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals. Since 2010, the UNM Cancer Center has trained more than 276 cancer scientists and 158 healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Our innovative education pipeline trains students from the high school level through the junior faculty level. Because we are part of the teaching hospital, your medical team may include fellows, residents, interns and other professionals-in-training under the instruction of our faculty.