Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins Emphatically Back Roswell Park’s Application For Renewal As National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Apr 18, 2018

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) are supporting Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s application to renew the facility’s esteemed standing as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center, which also guarantees a federal commitment of millions of dollars. 

Roswell Park was in the first group of three cancer centers to earn the coveted designation when the NCI inaugurated its Comprehensive Cancer Center program in 1974, and has successfully competed for renewal consistently since that time. 

“Roswell Park is one of the top cancer research centers in the entire country, and we are blessed to have this NCI-designated facility in Buffalo. Thousands of Western New Yorkers rely on Roswell’s groundbreaking treatments, and supportive staff, to beat cancer,” said Senator Schumer. “Roswell’s importance to Western New York cannot be measured, that is why I have and will continue to advocate for Roswell’s continued NCI designation, so that Roswell can continue to provide the cancer care Western New Yorkers need and deserve.

“Since Roswell Park’s opening 120 years ago, it has become one of the leading cancer centers in the country, and the medical research done there has led to major advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It is critical that we support Roswell Park’s NCI designation to help ensure that it continues to draw some of the best scientists and physicians to Western New York. This federal partnership will help ensure that New Yorkers affected by cancer can have access to the resources they need to combat this terrible disease.”

Congressman Higgins said, “For 120 years Roswell Park has been recognized nationally for its groundbreaking work in the fight against cancer.  That same confidence is felt by people here in Western New York who walk through those doors every day knowing that Roswell Park is the home of compassionate cancer experts.  We are fortunate to have this NCI-designated facility in our community and are advocating for continuation of this federal partnership and commitment for years to come.” 

In their letter to National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Higgins point out Roswell Park’s rich history of excellence and bright future as an innovative leader in the nation’s fight against cancer. This includes collaborative efforts with Cuban researchers on a promising lung cancer vaccine as well as innovative immunotherapy approaches first developed by Roswell Park research teams.   

Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was among the first designated cancer centers in the nation and has been a leader in quality care and breakthrough cancer research ever since. Roswell Park is one of only 49 NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation and the only one in Upstate New York. The facility has held this nationally recognized distinction for the last 45 years. 

Recipients of the Cancer Center Support Grant must meet the NCI’s rigorous criteria for world-class, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary research. Roswell Park last received the renewal in 2014 and was awarded a $19 million federal grant. The 5-year designation is set to expire in April 2019.

A copy of the letter can be found here and below:

Dr. Francis S. Collins


National Institutes of Health

9000 Rockville Pike

Bethesda, MD 2089 

Dear Dr. Collins,

We write in support of the application submitted by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for a renewal of funding from the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) through the National Institutes of Health.  The renewal of this funding will ensure that Roswell Park can continue to provide its globally recognized cancer research and clinical care.

Roswell Park has been providing world class research and clinical care for 120 years.  The dedicated team at Roswell Park is focused on eliminating cancer by driving innovation in cancer research, treatment, prevention and education, using exceptional laboratory, clinical, and population research.  Roswell Park has a rich history of excellence, and its team has worked tirelessly to enhance innovation to develop and expand its collaborative relationships, including partnerships in the local community, New York State, and global communities. In an example that exemplifies each of those goals, Roswell Park recently announced a historic collaboration with Cuban researchers as the first-ever U.S. institution to receive FDA approval to conduct a clinical trial of a Cuban drug.

The requested funding will allow Roswell Park to continue to provide critical cancer care services to patients throughout New York State. Over the last five years, through the CCSG, Roswell Park has been able to draw outstanding scientists and physicians to Buffalo to advance cancer treatment and to bolster lifesaving research in innovative fields like personalized medicine and immunotherapy. Additionally, this funding will enable Roswell Park to continue important work in eliminating health disparities through innovative education, outreach programs and improved access to high-quality care for underserved populations in Western New York.

We ask that you please give this application your full consideration.  If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact our staff members.