About the Cancer Center

Every day, more than 350 outstanding physicians and scientists at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center dedicate themselves to finding answers for the unmet medical needs of cancer patients.

Collaborating across the full spectrum of cancer research, these Mayo Clinic cancer experts are committed to understanding the biology of cancer, to discovering new ways to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, and to transforming the quality of life for cancer patients today and in the future.

Setting the bar for excellence

The interim director of the Cancer Center is Rafael Fonseca, M.D., who sets the bar for excellence with his own experience as a physician and researcher and in his role as a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. Fonseca heads a dedicated leadership team that embraces collaboration and creativity and encourages a rapid pace of scientific discovery and its successful translation into new cancer treatments.

Meeting rigorous National Cancer Institute standards

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is one of 69 U.S. medical centers that have been named National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer centers. This NCI designation recognizes a center's scientific leadership and resources, and the depth and breadth of research in basic, clinical and population science. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is also one of 49 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers that have further demonstrated substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges basic, clinical and population science.

The Cancer Center receives about $119 million in competitive peer-review grants annually, including the NCI's highly sought Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has six NCI SPORE grants, including a lymphoma SPORE grant that is shared with the University of Iowa:

Designed to rapidly move research discoveries into clinical settings for cancer patient care, SPORE grants support collaboration between basic researchers and clinical researchers on projects that result in new and diverse approaches to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Offering extensive clinical trial options

At Mayo Clinic, research drives everything we do for patients. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center researchers relentlessly pursue discoveries that deliver hope and better health today and for generations to come.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center patients have access to hundreds of clinical trials in all phases led by Mayo Clinic scientists. Trials are also available through the Cancer Prevention Network, a clinical trials study group whose administrative and research base is at Mayo Clinic. Still more trials are available through cooperative research agreements with the National Cancer Institute, the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and other clinical trials groups.

Transforming cancer patient lives

Mayo Clinic's unique culture of collaboration and teamwork speeds the transformation of promising laboratory discoveries into lifesaving treatments for patients with cancer. Because of this research, more than 150,000 cancer patients come to Mayo Clinic each year seeking medical answers they haven't found anywhere else.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has 10 major cancer research programs focused on providing medical solutions for cancer patients. These research programs benefit from the crucial infrastructure and scientific support of 13 shared resources.

Reaching new heights in cancer research

Our team-based, patient-centered research brings together renowned physicians, researchers and scientists to develop the latest technologies and treatments to address unmet patient needs.

This work expands beyond the 10 research programs within the Cancer Center to include research with other cancer collaborative groups, research on health disparities, a focus on native populations, and integration with cancer research laboratories and other areas of cancer research at Mayo Clinic.

Cooperative groups and collaborations

Researchers in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center work with scientists and clinicians in other organizations worldwide through cancer cooperative groups and a range of collaborations. These networks help advance cancer breakthroughs and expand access for our patients. Read more.

Health disparities

The Cancer Center is working to reduce disparities in health care. Partnering closely with the Office of Health Disparities Research at Mayo Clinic, our researchers engage with community organizations and encourage clinical and basic research studies focused on identifying and clarifying racial and ethnic differences in cancer. Read more.

Native populations

American Indian and Alaska Native populations have high incidence rates of certain cancers and poor survival rates for most cancers. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center conducts outreach, awareness and education activities aimed at improving cancer screening and survival rates in these populations:

Laboratories and other areas of cancer research

Many Mayo Clinic Cancer Center physicians and scientists lead their own laboratories and groups that conduct research related to cancer. These lab-based research efforts include numerous types of cancer and related conditions and span the spectrum of cancer research, including understanding the most basic biology of cancer development, diagnosis, treatment and finding new ways to deliver targeted cancer treatment. Read more.