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Director's Message


Tulane Cancer Center is the University's nucleus for supporting both cancer-focused basic research and academic patient care and has been since its founding.

Where We Started & How We Fulfill Our Mission

We started in 1993 as a matrix center with about 20 affiliated cancer-focused faculty whose primary appointments were in departments within the School of Medicine and across the University.

Through the years since, we invested and leveraged our assets – including $57 million in state tobacco tax funding we received through our partnership in the Louisiana Cancer Research Center – into growing and enhancing our translational research and patient care programs.

  • We worked with department heads in Medicine, Biochemistry, Structural & Cellular Biology, Pathology, Surgery, and Environmental Health Sciences, among others, to bolster recruitment packages – via approximately $9.3 million in startup funds and research space – in an effort to attract and retain brilliant new cancer-focused faculty to our programs. Over the past five years in particular, 35 new cancer-focused faculty recruits have more than doubled our National Cancer Institute grant funding base.
  • We provided approximately $6.3 million in research support to many of our cancer faculty in the form of bridge funds, seed funds, and incentive grants to help make their grant applications more competitive and in emergency relief grants to help them re-start their labs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
  • We purchased state-of-the-art shared equipment and outfitted core facilities to give our scientists the ability to generate critical data here in our labs.
  • We outfitted and support wet bench research space for cancer investigators in the School of Medicine, the J. Bennett Johnston Building, and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, a state-of-the-art cancer research facility constructed by the state in 2012.
  • We underwrote cancer education and early career development opportunities in the form of matching funds, travel grants, internships, mentorship and more for high school students, undergrads, graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and young scientists interested in pursuing cancer research careers.
  • We supported scientific seminars, journal clubs, programmatic meetings, retreats, grant writing workshops and other events meant to help our cancer research scientists network, collaborate and succeed.

Tulane Cancer Center also financially and administratively oversees a dedicated Office of Clinical Research (OCR), focused exclusively on assisting our clinician scientists in developing and implementing a variety of trials for the improved treatment or prevention of several different types of cancer. Our patients continue to benefit from the cutting-edge investigational treatment options available to them through our dedicated cancer clinical trials unit.

Where We Are Today

All of these efforts combined have led to great progress in the 30 years since our founding.

  • Today, our matrix center counts 137 cancer-focused research and clinical faculty, whose primary appointments are in basic and clinical sciences departments across the School of Medicine and the university.
  • We've developed several of our research and clinical care programs – including prostate cancer, genetic instability, health disparities, circadian rhythm disruption, viruses and cancer and cancer drug discovery – to levels of national and international prominence.
  • Our currently funded programmatic investigators have been awarded approximately $20 million per year in cancer-relevant federal and other research grants.

We are extremely proud not only of the focused, mission-driven planning, philanthropy and community support that have been the catalysts for our progress over the past 30 years, but also of our ongoing role in bolstering and strengthening Tulane University's cancer enterprise, and we're extremely excited about what comes next.

Prescott Deininger, PhD
Director, Tulane Cancer Center
The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Chair in Oncology
Associate Director of Basic Research, Louisiana Cancer Research Center