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David Livingston, M.D., a professor of genetics and of medicine
at Harvard and a distinguished researcher, gave the keynote
address at the scientific symposium. Livingston has helped lead research into the understanding of genes that play a critical role
in the development and suppression of cancer.

Vital Signs

Norris Cotton Cancer Center looks ahead to the next 40 years

By Amos Esty

In November, Norris Cotton Cancer Center celebrated its 40th anniversary. Over those decades, cancer care has changed dramatically. In some cases, knowledge of the causes of cancer has led to more successful prevention efforts. For other cancers, improved treatments have led to increased survival rates. Even for cancers that remain stubbornly resistant to treatment, advances in helping people cope with advanced disease have improved the lives of cancer patients.

Taking on cancer from all angles

Norris Cotton Cancer Center celebrates 40 years of advances in patient care and research.
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At a symposium held in November, Cancer Center researchers discussed areas of research that hold promise for future improvements, from prevention to treatment to understanding the risks of getting cancer. To read more about two research projects currently being led by Cancer Center and Geisel researchers, see the articles "The new smoking" and "A dog has its day."

Mark Israel, M.D., the director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, talks with Soya Sam, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in molecular pathology at the Cancer Center, at a poster session held as part of the anniversary celebration. As the Cancer Center has grown, so too has its roster of research faculty, who together now receive about $65 million in external funding each year to support cancer research.

O. Ross McIntyre, M.D., served as director of
the Cancer Center from 1974 to 1992, guiding
it from humble beginnings to being named as
a comprehensive cancer center by the
National Cancer Institute, a designation that
just 41 facilities in the country currently hold. Each year, more than 31,000 patients are
now treated at the Cancer Center's 17 sites in New Hampshire and Vermont.

The symposium included talks by several Cancer Center researchers, including Randolph Noelle, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology. Noelle investigates ways to harness the immune system to fight off cancer. The immune system often fails to recognize cancer cells as a threat, allowing tumors to grow unchecked. Noelle and other researchers at the Cancer Center are working to understand and alter the immune system's response to cancer.

Cancer Center researchers are also working to prevent cancer from developing in the first place. James Sargent, M.D., a professor of pediatrics, is an expert on the influences that lead adolescents to take part in behaviors—such as smoking—that are risk factors for disease. He has worked to apply his findings by advocating for policy changes that might help reduce those behaviors.

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Geisel School of Medicine at DartmouthDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College