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Stephenson Cancer Center Designated As National Cancer Institute Center

Travis Caperton / The University of Oklahoma

The Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City received a National Cancer Institute designation Wednesday, which will help provide more assistance for Oklahomans battling cancer.

At a press conference Wednesday, University of Oklahoma President David Boren said the Stephenson Cancer Center project began 17 years ago when the state legislature created the task for the college.  Since then, the center has used the time to become eligible for NCI designation. 

"Only two percent of cancer centers in the nation have NCI designation, so it truly is the gold standard for cancer centers in our nation," Boren said. "It means here in Oklahoma, we will have the best."

With the designation, the center will join 70 other NCI-designated cancer centers nationwide. The center's director, Dr. Robert Mannel said the center will increase cancer research and introduce promising new therapy trials for cancer patients.

"We take cancer personally, it impacts all of us," Mannel said. "We have all felt its sting."

Oklahoma has cancer rates that are well above the national average. Mannel said 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in Oklahoma will be diagnosed with cancer. The state's most common diagnosis is lung cancer.


More than $400 million was dedicated to the center over the years while reaching for the NCI designation, making it the state's largest public-private partnership in biomedical state history. This year the center will provide care for more than 3,000 new adult and pediatric patients.

Kateleigh Mills was the Special Projects reporter for KOSU from 2019 to 2024.
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