University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Masonic Cancer Center was founded in 1991 as the University of Minnesota Cancer Center and received its NCI designation in 1998. It was renamed the Masonic Cancer Center (MCC) in early 2008. The Center combines population sciences, basic research, and translational cancer care with community outreach and educational activities. The Center facilitates the research of its members, fosters multidisciplinary approaches to cancer, provides infrastructure support for cancer research, and develops new methods and strategies to reduce cancer incidence and mortality.

Prevention, screening, new therapies, biomarker evaluation, functional imaging of cancer, and cancer survivorship are the themes of the work conducted by MCC’s 600+ research members. The major research programs are: Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention; Cellular Mechanisms; Genetic Mechanisms; Immunology; Screening, Prevention, Etiology, and Cancer Survivorship; and Transplant and Cellular Therapy.

The Center’s clinical research and treatment partners include M Health Fairview, the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. The Center’s research partners span the health sciences at the University, including the U of M Medical School, the Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, and Public Health, and the Colleges of Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine. Additional research partners include the University’s Stem Cell Institute, Center for Genome Engineering, Center for Immunology, Center for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Center for Molecular Virology, Center for Translational Medicine, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and Physical Sciences in Oncology Center.

Specific scientific strengths of MCC include: chemoprevention and carcinogenesis, particularly in tobacco; obesity prevention research; hematopoietic stem cell biology and transplantation, especially in hematologic malignancies; translational research in immune and cell-based therapies; childhood malignancies, including biology, therapy, epidemiology, and survivorship; cancer prevention and screening, especially in colorectal and other solid tumors; immunology; novel mouse models to study cancer center etiology and progression; functional magnetic resonance imaging in cancer; and the development of interventional strategies for cancer prevention and treatment.

The Masonic Cancer Center also takes a leadership role in community outreach and engagement, public relations, and advocacy. Education and outreach programs in the community include involvement with the Minnesota Cancer Alliance/Cancer Plan Minnesota. MCC has also followed up its research in the area of tobacco with an outreach program to advance understanding of tobacco use, addiction, and harm reduction.