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UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the elite cancer centers in the country for patient care, research, and education. Recognized by both the National Cancer Institute and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center builds on the research strengths of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a broad network of scientific and clinical partners.
 
As the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in North Texas, SCCC is an incubator for cancer discovery in the region and a leader in research and patient care nationwide. SCCC also has been recognized among the country’s leading cancer treatment facilities by U.S. News & World Report for 2019-2020.
 
The mission of SCCC is to ease the burden of cancer in North Texas – a socioeconomically diverse population of 7.7 million people in 13 fast-growing counties – through ground-breaking discovery, transdisciplinary research, impactful community engagement, education, and exceptional patient care.
 
SCCC is organized as a matrix center that integrates cancer research, clinical cancer care, and cancer control and community outreach across the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center and its health system affiliates, Parkland Health and Hospital System, and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. SCCC Satellites in Fort Worth (at the Moncrief Cancer Institute) and Richardson/Plano offer their patients cancer services, access to clinical trials, and outreach. A research affiliation with the Dallas Regional Campus of the University of Texas School of Public Health – an M.P.H. and Ph.D. granting program located on the UTSW campus – brings public health expertise and additional training opportunities to the Center.
 
Snapshot of the SCCC Team
 
Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center has more than 175 full members including:
  • 1 Nobel Laureate
  • 11 members of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 5 members of the National Academy of Medicine
  • 5 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 12 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators
The membership comprises scientists and physicians from 34 departments of UT Southwestern and includes 15 department Chairs from basic science and clinical departments, and six center Directors, ensuring close alignment of the Cancer Center with the UT Southwestern scientific community. The pediatric oncology programs at Children’s Medical Center Dallas are also integrated into SCCC activities.
 
SCCC has a broad base of institutional, extramural, philanthropic, community, and government support in addition to its NIH funding. Cancer Center members currently have more than $90 million of research funding, with at least 30% coming from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Other funding sources include other NIH institutes, the American Cancer Society, the Department of Defense, several cancer foundations, and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
 
Science and Research Highlights
 
Five highly collaborative, multidisciplinary research programs form the backbone of SCCC’s basic and translational research.
  • Cellular Networks in Cancer Program provides an environment that capitalizes on UTSW’s long-standing tradition of basic science discoveries, and promotes research to increase understanding of dysregulated molecular mechanisms in tumor cells and their microenvironment that support cancer initiation and metastatic progression.
  • Chemistry and Cancer Program combines the expertise of synthetic and medicinal chemists, molecular and structural biologists, biochemists, chemical biologists, pharmacologists, and clinician scientists to discover drug-like chemicals that affect biological processes causal to the progression of cancer that, in turn, can be developed into new therapies.
  • Development and Cancer Program fosters collaborative research at the intersection of developmental and cancer stem cell biology to discover how aberrant developmental processes contribute to initiation and progression of cancer. 
  • Experimental Therapeutics Program promotes, develops, and exploits mechanism­based research for biomarker discovery and improved therapy of human cancer and is the main hub for interventional clinical trials in the Center.. 
  • Population Science and Cancer Control Program focuses on cancer risk factors, early detection, cancer screening and prevention, cancer health disparities, and health services research in our safety-net systems, recognizing Dallas' great socioeconomic and ethnic diversity .
The Cancer Center’s six shared resources provide researchers with access to state-of-the art research technologies, equipment, and support. These are available to all Cancer Center members and are as follows:
  • Biostatistics
  • Data Science
  • High Throughput Screening
  • Live Cell Imaging
  • Small Animal Imaging
  • Tissue Management
With more than 226 members, the Cancer Center's research programs and disease-oriented teams (DOTs) work hand in hand to advance cancer research and patient care. Each DOT focuses on a major type or area of cancer and is instrumental in shaping and conveying basic and translational findings for use in the clinic.
 
A formal research affiliation with the University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus enhances the Cancer Center’s expertise in conducting health care delivery research. Clinical trials, including dozens testing new cancer treatments as well as strategies for screening and prevention, are conducted at UT Southwestern and partner sites across Dallas/Fort Worth. SCCC is also designated by the NCI as a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site.
 
Patient Care Highlights
 
Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center serves a racially, ethnically, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse population of 7.7 million people in 13 North Texas counties – including four of the 15 fastest-growing counties in the U.S. More than 37,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed annually in the region.
 
SCCC’s cutting-edge science and exceptional clinical care impact patients throughout North Texas by providing them easy access to:
  • Some of the top cancer specialists in the country
  • Innovative therapies and a broad array of treatment options
  • Multidisciplinary, disease-oriented teams
  • Leading-edge clinical trials
  • The most advanced technology and equipment
  • State-of-the-art clinics and hospitals
  • Support services for patients and their loved ones 
Patient care is provided at state-of-the-art clinical facilities at UT Southwestern, including:
  • The William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital (CUH), and its clinics are the site for cancer care in the UTSW Medical District in Dallas. Opened in 2014, CUH is a 12-floor, 460-bed hospital that includes a 64-bed oncology unit. By October 2020, there will be a total of 96 inpatient beds devoted to cancer care, 32 of them dedicated to bone marrow transplantation and CAR-T cell therapies.
  • The 148-bed Zale Lipshy Pavilion is known as a premier referral center for neurological care, including the treatment of brain and spinal malignancies; it also houses the first Gamma Knife Icon in Texas, which allows UTSW to use radiosurgery to treat patients with inoperable brain tumors or brain metastases.
  • The Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinics are CUH based and provide a central location for oncology services and related outpatient care. These include medical oncology, surgical oncology, thoracic surgery, gynecology oncology, genetic counseling, palliative care, a breast imaging center, and an 11-room clinical trials unit for the conduct of clinical trials.
  • The three-story William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital Radiation Oncology Building consolidates a full spectrum of radiation treatment technology at one site on campus; a 71,000-square-foot expansion is currently under construction. The Radiation Oncology Building includes the field’s most technologically advanced equipment for treating cancer, including the world’s second GammaPod, the next generation CyberKnife, and the most advanced linear accelerators.
  • UTSW Simmons Cancer Center – at the Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth, provides chemotherapy, cancer imaging, and other services, plus access to clinical trials. This SCCC Satellite is also a major hub for early cancer detection and survivorship services in Tarrant and surrounding rural counties.
  • UTSW Simmons Cancer Center Satellite in Richardson/Plano located in North Dallas. This center houses an oncology clinic with 12 private infusion rooms, an infusion pharmacy, and clinical trials support personnel.
  • A new 300,000 square-foot, nine-story Outpatient Cancer Care Tower of the SCCC is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2022. This facility, designed with a focus on patient-centered care and with input from a Patient and Family Advisory Committee, will include enhanced space for all existing multidisciplinary clinics, a dedicated floor for clinical trials, 120 private infusion rooms, an urgent care center, and areas for wellness and survivorship care in addition to palliative care.
Affiliates include:  
Education and Training

UT Southwestern’s Cancer Biology Graduate Program, a Ph.D.-granting program that crosses Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center’s many interdisciplinary bridges, includes 70 faculty trainers and 28 full-time students. The program provides a broad knowledge base to foster the development and discoveries of tomorrow’s cancer scientists. In addition, funding from the Cancer Center and Cancer Biology NCI T32, Physician Scientist Oncology NCI T32, and training grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas provide support for a number of graduate and postdoctoral positions as well as undergraduate research fellows.
 
UTSW also supports ACGME-approved training programs in medical oncology and hematology (four per year), pediatric hematology/oncology (three per year), and gynecologic oncology (one per year).
 
The Division of Surgical Oncology supports two one-year breast oncology fellowships, and the Department of Radiation Oncology offers residencies in radiation oncology and medical physics as well as other training programs.
 
Community Outreach
 
SCCC’s Office of Community Outreach, Engagement, and Equity (COEE) oversees a broad range of activities, including tobacco cessation and vaccination programs, screening programs, cancer survivorship and young adult support groups, and clinical trial enrollment. In 2019, the SCCC established a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that includes 26 members with representation from local health departments, community health centers, non-profits, educational institutions, and faith-based groups. The CAB provides the forum for bi-directional communication between the SCCC and the broader Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) community. The CAB, together with the SCCC, organize activities to better understand the community’s needs as they relate to cancer education and care, and have formed workgroups to advise on strategies to augment minority trial accrual and communications to improve the reach of SCCC’s outreach programs.
 
Examples of COEE programs aimed at addressing disparities include:
  • BSPAN, a breast cancer screening program, which provides screening and diagnostic services to more than 9,000 under-or uninsured patients
  • Fit-4-All, which provides FIT tests to about 3,000 patients
  • Stop HCC, which screens more than 1,200 patients for hepatitis C at Parkland Memorial Hospital
SCCC also has the largest known cancer genetics counseling program for the underserved in the U.S. The program prioritizes community outreach and education with an average of 100 activities touching at least 5,000 people each year.
 
The work of our population sciences and COEE groups has resulted in policy-changing studies, which have compared FIT testing with colonoscopy in high-risk patients in safety net settings. These efforts are further enhanced through UTSW Moncrief Cancer Institute (MCI), a nonprofit community-based early detection and support center that hosts the SCCC Satellite in Fort Worth. MCI provides services to rural and underserved populations, including through some of the programs mentioned above.
In February 2020, Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center was awarded more than $8.5 million in grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). In all, SCCC has received more than $500 million in CPRIT research funding since CPRIT was established in 2007.