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Facts, Figures & History

  • ​$79M (direct) in annual cancer research funding
  • $22M (direct) in annual NCI research funding
  • 197 full members, average $399,903 per capita funding
  • Includes all academic NCI-funded researchers in Colorado
  • $178M institutional investment in cancer research since 2005
  • 560 publications in FY15, 39% collaborative
  • 9,446 new adult oncology patients at University of Colorado Hospital in FY15
  • 68,909 oncology clinic visits in FY15
  • 19% of patients diagnosed at the Center are enrolled in treatment trials


 Since its inception in 1985, University of Colorado Cancer Center has become the hub of cancer research in the state of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. CU Cancer Center focuses on interdisciplinary research conducted in six programs: Cancer Prevention and Control, Cancer Cell Biology, Developmental Therapeutics, Hematological Malignancies, Molecular Oncology, and Lung/Head and Neck Cancer.

CU Cancer Center has grown to a comprehensive cancer center with a consortium designation from the National Cancer Institute. We received our first five-year NCI cancer center support grant in 1987 as a clinical cancer center and our comprehensive designation in 1997. NCI awarded a formal consortium designation in 2005. Our consortium members include three state universities and three cancer care and research institutions located throughout Colorado.


Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, has been the director of CU Cancer Center since 2010. In addition to directing the center, Dr. Theodorescu continues to work as an active scientist, managing a research lab that leads the way in the development of new drugs, drug-to-disease matching, and diagnostic techniques.

Dr. Theodorescu was preceded as director by Dr. Paul Bunn, Jr., MD. Under Dr. Bunn’s direction, CU Cancer Center received its first support grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Our physician-scientists are a national resource for the development and delivery of new and personalized cancer treatments. We are home to an NCI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in lung cancer which is designed to fast-track new drugs for molecularly targeted subtypes of lung cancer. CU Cancer Center is the coordinating center for the only lung cancer project in the NCI’s Strategic Partnership Evaluating Cancer Signatures (SPECS) program to evaluate and develop tests to predict which early stage squamous lung cancer patients may need additional treatment after surgery. Our melanoma team has been instrumental in clinical trials leading to FDA approval of new classes of drugs targeting the disease; and our specialty clinics, including our Young Women's Breast Cancer Translational Program and oncofertility clinic, are applying new understanding to populations that haven’t been part of the traditional landscape of cancer care.

University of Colorado Hospital, where the majority of our adult cancer patients receive treatment, has climbed in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings from #44 in 2010 to #15 in 2015. Our pediatric cancer patients receive treatment primarily at Children's Hospital Colorado, which U.S. News ranks #9 in pediatric cancer care.

The CU Cancer Center is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network®, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers working to establish and deliver the gold standard in cancer clinical guidelines. CU Cancer Center also is a member of the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), a unique research partnership among North America’s top cancer centers leveraging multiple data sources and matching patients to targeted treatments.