Welcome to the NCI Center for Cancer Research

Creating the Cancer Medicines of Tomorrow, Tom Misteli

The Center for Cancer Research is the largest division of the National Cancer Institute’s intramural research program with nearly 250 basic and clinical research groups located on two campuses just outside of Washington, D.C.

CCR is home to an extraordinary group of scientists and clinicians exploring the cutting-edge of cancer and HIV/AIDS research. Our scientists work on a wide spectrum of biological and biomedical problems ranging from visualizing and understanding the structure of individual genes and proteins, developing novel methods for drug discovery, to inventing biomedical devices and technology and creating innovative ways to treat patients in the NIH Clinical Center.

Our scientists enjoy complete intellectual freedom and are expected to creatively and innovatively explore the most important questions in the field of cancer research and treatment. We support projects over a long time horizon allowing our investigators to pursue some of the most difficult, high-risk problems in the field, and we are always on the lookout for new challenges and the most pressing problems in modern cancer research.

CCR 20th Anniversary (2001-2021)

Credit: Bill Dahut, Glenn Merlino, Tom Misteli,
Nature Cancer, 2021

2021 marks 20 years since the founding of CCR, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act.

During the past two decades, work in CCR has led to numerous major scientific discoveries and made a positive public health impact, including the development of groundbreaking immunotherapy approaches, HIV/AIDS testing, the creation of a human papillomavirus vaccine and more as illustrated on our Timeline of CCR Landmarks.

The success of CCR over the last 20 years is based on several institutional cornerstones:

  • High-risk research: Near unlimited intellectual freedom allows our scientists to identity the most pressing and most challenging problems in cancer research.
  • Cutting-edge technology platforms: Our investigators have free access to the most powerful technologies in cancer research.
  • Bench-to-bed: Our research programs seamlessly integrate basic and clinical research to accelerate development of novel treatments based on the latest insights into basic cellular and molecular processes.
  • Partnerships: We build strong, long-term and equitable partnerships with academia, clinical centers and industry.
  • Training programs: Our innovative training programs educate and mentor the next generation of physician-scientists, from summer students to faculty members.
  • Diversity in thought and people: We are deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do.

The CCR is a unique place of science where we combine diverse expertise with the freedom to thoroughly pursue the most pressing questions in cancer biology and treatment.

At CCR, we do cancer research that benefits all!

Tom Misteli, Ph.D.
Director, CCR

50th Anniversary - National Cancer Act (1971-2021)


CCR is the world’s leading catalyst for tomorrow’s cancer research discoveries and patient treatments.

The MISSION of CCR is to improve the lives of all cancer patients by solving important, challenging and neglected problems in cancer research and patient care through:

  • A world-leading basic, translational and clinical research and patient care program
  • An institutional focus on high-risk and long-term projects, unmet needs, and pursuit of unexplored ideas
  • Research to eliminate cancer health disparities
  • Leadership and coordination of national disease networks and development of technology resources for the cancer community
  • Partnerships with academic institutions, commercial entities and patient advocacy groups
  • Training of the next generation of a diverse and inclusive biomedical workforce

The VALUES of the CCR reflect our dedication to creating an environment that catalyzes creative, innovative and transformational research and patient care through:

  • Scientific innovation, creativity, distinctiveness and excellence
  • Intellectual freedom to pursue the most important problems in cancer research and treatment 
  • Seamless integration of basic and clinical research
  • Support of individual investigator-driven research and collaborative interdisciplinary team science within and beyond the NIH intramural program
  • Highest quality care for our patients with respect, compassion and dedication
  • Transparency, diligence, integrity
  • Diversity of thought and culture
  • Inclusiveness and equity across gender, race, culture and creed

Our GOALS drive our relentless pursuit to advance cancer research and care through:

  • Discovery and dissemination of new knowledge
  • In-depth understanding of cancer mechanisms to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cures for adults and children afflicted with cancer, including rare tumors, and HIV/AIDS
  • Translation of our discoveries into novel therapeutic interventions
  • Development and conduct of clinical trials that lead to better outcomes, longer lives and ultimately elimination of suffering from cancer in all populations
  • Leading and enabling the international cancer community in research, technology development, translation and patient care
  • Training of a skilled inclusive and diverse biomedical workforce who will serve as the next generation’s world leaders in cancer research and care