White river overlooking downtown Indianapolis
Indianapolis is home to the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. The cancer center is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country.

Home to the cure of testicular cancer that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives and the world’s only healthy breast tissue bank that has served as a resource to investigators around the world to learn more about the disease, the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center in Indianapolis is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Its mission is to eliminate cancer’s burden in Indiana and beyond. 

Walther Hall at Night
Joseph E. Walther Hall, Indiana University’s largest research building, houses many of the cancer center’s researchers.

The center has more than 270 research members (see the online directory), including basic, clinical, and population science investigators. The scientists conduct research in four different programs. The goals of those programs range from understanding the molecular changes that cause cancer to the development of targeted therapies to prevent and treat cancer.

The center’s members are faculty at IU School of Medicine, IU School of Nursing, and the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI among other schools.

The center’s physician scientists have made protocol-defining discoveries that have changed the way doctors treat:

  • breast cancer
  • gastrointestinal cancer, including pancreatic and colon cancers
  • genitourinary cancer, such as testis, bladder and prostate cancers
  • hematologic disorders, including multiple myeloma and leukemia
  • thoracic cancer
  • thymoma and thymic carcinoma
  • tumors associated with neurofibromatosis type 1, primarily in children
  • umbilical stem cell transplantation

To improve the health of Hoosiers, the center works with partner organizations around the state. The collaborative work focuses on reducing the number of new cancer cases and the number of deaths caused by the disease, especially among underrepresented populations. This includes initiatives to increase HPV vaccination rates, as well as developing, testing, and disseminating interventions to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening in racially diverse and rural populations in Indiana.

A National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center

The IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is Indiana’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and one of only 51 in the nation. (See the banner that was created to celebrate this milestone.) The NCI-designated cancer centers are recognized for meeting rigorous criteria for world-class, state-of-the-art programs in multidisciplinary cancer research. These centers put significant resources into developing research programs, faculty, and facilities that will lead to better approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The NCI designation not only recognizes excellence but opens doors to greater federal funding, information sharing and resources.

The comprehensive designation recognizes the center’s excellence in basic, clinical, and population research, outstanding educational activities, and effective community outreach program across the state.

Our Partnership with IU Health

Through our partnership with Indiana University Health, cancer patients benefit from the scientific discoveries made at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. IU Health provides multidisciplinary clinical care for adults with cancer at IU Health Simon Cancer Center and for children at Riley Hospital at IU Health.

Many IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers are both scientists and physicians. Search our member directory to find physician scientists working in a particular research area.

Unique Breast Tissue Bank, Work in Kenya

The Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center — the first and only such bank — collects breast tissue samples from women without breast cancer. By collecting samples from women without breast cancer, researchers may be able to determine the differences between healthy and cancerous tissue, which will lead to a better understanding of the cellular changes of the disease. The bank’s samples are available to researchers around the world.

The center partners with Moi University School of Medicine and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in western Kenya through the IU-led AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare) consortium. AMPATH Oncology reaches an underserved population of more than five million people in western Kenya. NCI reviewers have called the center’s work in Kenya “an impressive model for addressing global cancer disparities and health equity.”

For the Next Generation of Cancer Researchers

At the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, you will see how scientific discoveries change the way physicians deliver cancer care. Learn about educational opportunities at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center » 

Our history

1992: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) awards a planning grant to the IU School of Medicine for a cancer center, establishing the Indiana University Cancer Center.

1999: The IU Cancer Center earns National Cancer Institute designation.

2004: NCI renews designation.

2006: The IU Cancer Center becomes the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center to reflect the philanthropic support of Melvin and Bren Simon.

2008: NCI renews designation.

2014: NCI renews designation.

2019: The IU Simon Cancer Center earns Comprehensive Cancer Center status, the NCI’s highest designation.