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The Duke Cancer Institute was founded in 1971, but the history of the Duke University Medical Center goes back much further. The medical center was founded in 1930 after a $4 million bequest from James B. Duke, a tobacco and textile industrialist who is the namesake for the university. The Duke University Hospital opened its doors on July 21, 1930, filling 17 of its 400 beds on its first day of operations. The medical school and hospital were renamed in 1957 as the Duke University Medical Center.

A number of “firsts” have been accomplished at the medical center throughout its history. In 1936, a surgeon at Duke used ultraviolet light to kill germs in an operating room. The following year, the hospital founded the country’s first brain tumor program in the country, the beginning of what would eventually become the cancer center. In 1956, the hospital’s surgeons were the first to use systemic hypothermia during cardiac surgery. And in the 1990s, geneticists at the medical center invented a test to screen newborns for dozens of metabolic diseases at the same time, a test that is now a standard throughout the country.

Located in Durham, North Carolina, the Duke Cancer Institute is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center that was founded in 1971. The Institute is affiliated with the Duke University Health System, a hospital system affiliated with the private research university. A number of medical firsts have been accomplished at the medical center throughout its history, including in the 1990s, when geneticists at the medical center invented a test to screen newborns for dozens of metabolic diseases at the same time, which is now a standard throughout the country.

More than 50,000 cancer patients are seen at Duke each year, including 6,000 new cancer patients who come to the hospital from every state in the United States and from countries around the world. Duke Cancer Institute is renowned not just for its level of patient care, but largely for its continued research into cancers like mesothelioma. Duke has a dedicated Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program, which covers an array of cancers, including thoracic cancers like lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma. At Duke, there are doctors that specialize in the treatment and research of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

The Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program focuses on tumor behavior, the immune system, angiogenesis, pre-clinical trials and parallel clinical trials. The program’s main goal is to align all research efforts to better understand cancer. Clinical trials are offered at Duke for eligible patients.

Duke Cancer Institute provides many different resources to both patients and caregivers, including rehabilitation programs, recreational therapies and survivor-specific resources.

Specializations:

  • Clinical trial development
  • Solid tumor therapies
  • Thoracic cancers (lung cancer and mesothelioma)

Accreditations:

  • National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center designation
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