University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

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University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
Area served
Key people
Howard Bailey, Director
ParentUW Health

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) holds the unique distinction of being the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the lead federal agency for cancer research. It is an integral part of both the University of Wisconsin (UW) and the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. It is located in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mission Statement[edit]

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center is deeply committed to defeating cancer through the rapid application of groundbreaking research, prevention and treatment.


Cancer research on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus has a rich history, starting with the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, established in 1940. Dr. Harold Rusch was the first director of the McArdle Laboratory until 1972.[1]

After the National Cancer Act of 1971, Dr. Rusch submitted a proposal to create a new comprehensive cancer center at the University of Wisconsin.[2] The resulting Clinical Cancer Center was one of six original NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers and was awarded NCI designation in 1973.[3]

Dr. Paul Carbone was recruited from the NCI in 1975 to lead the UW's Division of Clinical Oncology, and after Dr. Rusch's retirement in 1978, Dr. Carbone was named the Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center.[4] Dr. Carbone led the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center from 1978 to 1997 through a period of exceptional scientific and clinical growth while promoting further interdisciplinary science through collaborations across departments.[5]

Dr. John Niederhuber served as UW Comprehensive Cancer Center director from 1997-2002.[4][6] His most notable accomplishment was the consolidation of NCI cancer center support grants for the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research and the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center. This consolidation led to one NCI-designated grant on the UW-Madison campus. Dr. Niederhuber went on to become director of the National Cancer Institute, serving from 2006-2010.

Following Dr. Niederhuber's departure, Dr. George Wilding served as interim director before being named director in January 2004.[4][7] Dr. Wilding guided the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center through tremendous growth from 2004 to 2013, which included over 30 tenured faculty recruitments and $250M in cancer funding, and an emphasis on transdisciplinary research that fostered changes in the management structure, physical growth of facilities and overall multidisciplinary approach.[7]

In 2006, the Cancer Center was renamed the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UW Carbone) to honor the legacy of Dr. Carbone.[8]

In September 2013, Dr. Howard Bailey became interim director of UW Carbone.[9] Dr. Bailey has been a faculty member since 1994, with near continuous peer reviewed funding, and a member of the NCI subcommittee A (“Parent Committee”) for Core Grant review since 2012.

Dr. Howard Bailey was appointed Director in April 2015.[8]

Under Dr. Bailey's leadership, leaders and members developed a stronger and deeper communication network. UW Carbone has been successful competing for multi-investigator and central cancer-oriented grants during the previous and current NCI support grant periods.

UW Carbone space is now approaching a three-fold increase to approximately 389,000 square feet of contiguous space on the west end of campus, and the administrative and scientific leadership structure has been considerably strengthened through the addition of Associate and Assistant Director roles. Clinical services have grown with continued expansion of clinical facilities, staff and organizational structure.

Organization, Research, and Outreach[edit]

UW Carbone is a matrix cancer center,[2] allowing it to extend its influence through multiple departments and schools on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. UW Carbone unites physicians and scientists who work together in translating discoveries from research laboratories into new treatments that benefit cancer patients; the center conducts research, provides treatment and offers training. The center engages with more than 2,300 UW faculty and staff across the UW campus and treats more than 30,000 patients per year.[3][10]

UW Carbone formed the Wisconsin Oncology Network, a regional network to allow community health centers from throughout Wisconsin and northern Illinois to enroll patients in select cancer clinical trials that are open at UW Carbone.[11]

Research Areas[edit]

The scientific mission of the UW Carbone Cancer Center is organized around six scientific programs.[12] UW Carbone programs encompass laboratory research, clinical research, population sciences and advanced research training:

  • Developmental Therapeutics: Discovering new targets and therapeutic agents and moving them into clinical trials.
  • Cancer Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanisms: Discovering novel cancer genetic and epigenetic mechanisms and translating mechanistic insights derived principally from mouse models and primary human cancer samples to human cancer patients.
  • Human Cancer Virology: Researching the viruses that cause 15 to 20 percent of all human cancers, including the viral gene functions that are required both for tumor development and also for continued survival of malignant cells in the final tumor.
  • Imaging and Radiation Sciences: Pursuing basic, translational and clinical research involving ionizing and non-ionizing radiation in the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of cancer.
  • Cancer Prevention and Control: Identifying effective approaches to reduce the burden of cancer for patients, their families, and communities through improved prevention, early detection, and survival.
  • Tumor Microenvironment: Studying cancer cell interactions within the context of their local environment.

Programs, Partnerships, and Affiliations[edit]

In addition to the scientific mission, outreach – helping the public clearly understand cancer's impact on our daily lives – is a key component of UW Carbone. Programs, partnerships and affiliations include:

  • Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Control Program: Designed to reduce the burden of cancer for all in Wisconsin by working to engage public, private and community partners to develop, implement and promote a statewide approach to cancer control.
  • Wisconsin Cancer Council: A coalition of 90 statewide, regional and local organizations dedicated to reduce the morbidity and mortality of cancer in the state by stimulating communication between cancer-control organizations in Wisconsin; advocating for cancer control through policy, systems and environmental changes and research; and developing and coordinating projects that require the interaction of various cancer control organizations in Wisconsin.
  • Cancer Health Disparities Initiative: Seeks to increase the capacity of communities and UW Carbone to reduce inequities in cancer burden through research, outreach and education. This initiative addresses cancer health disparities by promoting and facilitating research, building organizational and community partnerships, conducting outreach and organizing education and training.
    • African American Program: A culturally competent education initiative designed to increase cancer awareness and improve screening practices among African Americans
    • Latino Program: The overarching goal of this program is to provide sustainable cancer outreach, education, and research in partnership with Latino communities within UWCCC's service area
    • Rural Program: Works to expand culturally appropriate community outreach to patients, providers, and community organizers in rural communities
  • Spirit of EAGLES: Addresses cancer control among American Indians through partnerships with tribes, the Network for Cancer Control Research among American Indian/Alaska Native populations, multiple cancer centers, the American Cancer Society and many other partners.
  • Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention: Nationally recognized for its ground-breaking tobacco research that is translated into tobacco treatment.

Notable Distictions[edit]

In 2013, UW Carbone became a member institution of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (Big Ten CRC).[3]

In 2016, UW Carbone became a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Notable Faculty[edit]


  1. ^ "History | McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  2. ^ a b "UWCCC from 1970 – 2000". Carbone Cancer Center. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  3. ^ a b c "Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium » University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  4. ^ a b c Authority, University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. "Significant Accomplishments and Discoveries". UW Health. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  5. ^ "Funeral arrangements set for Carbone, cancer pioneer". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  6. ^ "Almanac". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  7. ^ a b "Wilding named Cancer Center director". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  8. ^ a b "At the Helm: Dr. Howard Bailey, Director of the UW Carbone Cancer Center". University Of Wisconsin - Department of Medicine. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  9. ^ "Campus was hopping, at a summertime pace, while you were gone". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  10. ^ "About the University of Wisconsin Cancer Center". Carbone Cancer Center. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  11. ^ "About WON". UWCCC Research. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  12. ^ "Program Areas". UWCCC Research. Retrieved 2018-11-12.

External links[edit]