The Cancer Center enjoys a vibrant, well-funded research base, which continues to grow. The focus of this effort is on reducing cancer incidence, mortality and morbidity in the community while training future cancer researchers and improving our ability to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Cancer Center members currently hold over $145 million in grant funding. Demonstrating the high level of cancer research being conducted at Penn, the Cancer Center ranks fifth in funding from the National Cancer Institute and fourth in American Cancer Society funding.

Our Research Mission

To reduce the burden of cancer by:

  1. Pioneering scientific discoveries in basic, clinical, and population based research
  2. Translating these discoveries to the clinic and community in the form of new models of cancer prevention and treatment.

Areas of Research Excellence

  • Translational research, in which scientists translate discoveries from research laboratories into new treatments that benefit cancer patients
  • Breast cancer, spanning the identification of genetic risk and innovative diagnostic modalities that will lead to earlier diagnosis to basic science understanding of breast cancer development in order to create earlier interventions
  • Melanoma, focusing on the identification of familial risk and epidemiologic factors to testing new treatment approaches
  • Hematologic malignancies/bone marrow transplantation, in which we are seeking ways to improve patient outcomes and develop new techniques
  • Innovative clinical trials (nearly 200 active trials ongoing)
  • Tobacco research, in which scientists are examining several genes that may play a role in predisposing people to nicotine addiction
  • Developmental therapeutics, in which Penn researchers are identifying and testing the effectiveness of new drugs in preventing or treating cancer
  • Immunobiology, in which we are learning about how proteins function in order to design to innovative therapeutics to control immune reactions.