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Siteman Cancer Center earns highest rating from federal cancer institute​​​​​​​​​

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Washington University School of Medicine

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded Siteman Cancer Center​ at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis an “exceptional” rating, based on a rigorous review of Siteman’s research programs. The rating is the highest possible by the NCI, the principal federal institute that funds cancer research.

Siteman, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, undergoes peer review every five years. Such centers are recognized by the NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for their leadership, scientific merit, integration and the depth and breadth of clinical and research programs, including in cancer prevention.

​High-tech goggles developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis help breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, MD, visualize cancer cells in a patient. Such research led to Siteman Cancer Center receiving the highest rating possible from the National Cancer Institute. (Credit: Robert Boston)​High-tech goggles developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis help breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, MD, visualize cancer cells in a patient. Such research led to Siteman Cancer Center receiving the highest rating possible from the National Cancer Institute. (Photo: Robert Boston)
​High-tech goggles developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis help breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, MD, visualize cancer cells in a patient. Such research led to Siteman Cancer Center receiving the highest rating possible from the National Cancer Institute. (Credit: Robert Boston)​High-tech goggles developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis help breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, MD, visualize cancer cells in a patient. Such research led to Siteman Cancer Center receiving the highest rating possible from the National Cancer Institute. (Photo: Robert Boston)
“While this rating speaks to the extraordinary quality of our research​, many of our researchers also are physicians who treat patients,” said Timothy Eberlein​, MD, director of Siteman Cancer Center and head of the School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. “Their exceptional work doesn’t stop at the laboratory door. It’s also central to the clinical care we provide to nearly 9,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year.”
Siteman earned its exceptional rating based on a January site visit by 26 researchers and administrators from academic cancer centers across the United States. During the visit, Washington University researchers and physicians presented their innovative research programs in genomics, cancer imaging, cancer prevention and disparities, immunology and immunotherapy, and early-phase clinical trials. Such research highlights and innovations at Siteman included:
  • ​Vaccines against breast cancer and melanoma, which are in clinical trials.
  • High-tech goggles that help surgeons visualize cancer cells in the operating room.
  • Community-based research to understand and eliminate cancer disparities​ and reduce the burden of cancer in our region.
  • Promoting patient participation in innovative clinical studies.

Established in 1999, Siteman has risen quickly to become a cancer center recognized as exceptional by its peers and the NCI. Siteman was named Missouri’s only NCI-designated Cancer Center in 2001 and the state’s only Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2005. The latter designation places Siteman among the top institutions in cancer prevention, research and treatment.

“We have some incredibly innovative science, and we apply it to the care of our patients,” said Eberlein, who also is the Bixby Professor of Surgery and Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine. “Being recognized as exceptional by one’s peers makes our work on behalf of our patients even more meaningful.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​