West Cancer Center is fighting the war on cancer – but there is much more work to do. With your help, we will ensure that cancer patients have access to the most cutting-edge research and effective therapies possible.

Centers of Excellence

Funds donated to The University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research are designated for research and patient care in five Centers of Excellence. To learn more about the science behind each of our programs, please click on the appropriate link below.

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Drug Discovery and Development

Often described as “from bench to bedside” research, drug discovery and development is based on the concept that the creation of new drugs should relate directly to patient needs and should couple laboratory research with observations made in the clinic.

This can be seen specifically in the realm of oncology, where an increasingly more common and effective approach to cancer treatment is to understand the mutation that caused the diseased cancer cell in the first place. By understanding the specific mutations, scientists can develop more specific, precise therapy that is highly individualized based on the mutation.

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Immunotherapy – treatments that harness and enhance the innate powers of the immune system to fight cancer – represents one of the most promising new cancer treatment approaches since the development of the first chemotherapies. One of the ways cancer is able to develop, grow, and spread is by evading the body’s healthy immune system. Since cancer cells look so much like normal cells, cancer is essentially able to “hide in plain sight” from an immune system whose goal is to attack and destroy foreign material, while leaving the body’s own cells alone.

Because of the immune system’s unique properties, these therapies that “activate” our immune system may hold greater potential than current treatment approaches to fight cancer more powerfully, to offer longer-term protection against the disease, to come with fewer side effects, and to benefit more patients with more cancer types.

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Women's Cancers

Despite advances in screening and treatment, women’s cancers remain a significant challenge in the Memphis market and for our overall patient population. At West Cancer Center, there was a 20% increase year over year in new breast cancer cases. There was also a 13% increase year over year in new gynecological cancer cases at West Cancer Center. These are cancers that affect the female reproductive organs, including cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

West Cancer Center is home to some of the most renowned experts in the fields of breast and gynecologic oncology, and we continue to explore new treatment options and innovative patient care for these and other women’s cancers.

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Community Outcomes

Despite significant advancements in cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention over the past several decades, addressing cancer health disparities in certain populations is an area where progress has not kept pace. Disparities in higher cancer death rates, less frequent use of appropriate screening tests, and higher rates of advanced cancer diagnoses among low-socioeconomic groups, certain racial/ethnic populations, and those who live in geographically isolated areas remain a significant challenge across the country, and particularly within Memphis and its surrounding markets.

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WINGS Supportive Care

As West Cancer Center continues an era of unprecedented growth, the needs of our patients continue to grow as well. In an effort to accommodate this progress, the University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research and WINGS Cancer Foundation combined forces in 2015 to create the new WINGS Supportive Care Division within the UT/West Institute structure.

The WINGS Supportive Care Division provides a comprehensive platform to address the holistic needs of our patients – whether it is spiritual support, nutritional and wellness services, or access to screening services for the underserved in our community. Together with our dedicated WINGS volunteers and generous benefactors, the WINGS Supportive Care Division provides our patients the support and resources they need for their cancer journey and beyond at no additional cost to the patient.

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