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About Our Center

The name Johns Hopkins has become synonymous with excellence in research and patient care.  Its science and medical programs earn more federal research dollars than any other medical institution in the country.

Since its opening in 1973, our Cancer Center has led the world in deciphering the mechanisms of cancer and new ways to treat it.  The strength of our research and treatment programs was recognized early on by the National Cancer Institute, becoming one of the first to earn comprehensive cancer center status and recognition as a “Center of Excellence.”

One of only 41 cancer centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center has active programs in clinical research, laboratory research, education, community outreach, and prevention and control. The Kimmel Cancer Center is the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in the state of Maryland. More on the NCI's Cancer Centers Program, including a locator map.

Virtual Tour and Patient Care

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Virtual Tour

Experience the Center by taking a virtual tour of our clinical care building. "Walk" through our facilities to learn more about services and programs. Prepare for your first visit with this step-by-step guide.

Experience the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center by taking a virtual tour of our clinical care building. "Walk" through our facilities to learn more about services and programs. Prepare for your first visit with this step-by-step guide through our center.

Patients who visit the Kimmel Cancer Center have access to some of the most innovative and advanced therapies in the world. Because Kimmel Cancer Center research scientists and clinicians work closely together, new drugs and treatments developed in the laboratory are quickly transferred to the clinical setting, offering patients constantly improved therapeutic options.

The Kimmel Cancer Center encompasses a wide spectrum of specialty programs for both adults and children coping with cancer, including bone marrow transplantation and new drug development. Additionally,those at high risk for breast, ovarian, colon and other cancers, may seek information about early detection, prevention, and genetic counseling through a comprehensive genetics service.

The Kimmel Cancer Center also offers complete family and patient services that include a Cancer Counseling Center, survivors and palliative care programs, and the 39 suite, Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion for patients and their families traveling from out-of-town.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building is our clinical care cancer facility and the Bunting Blaustein Cancer Research Building is our state-of-the-art cancer research and teaching building, both of which opened in 2000. In 2006, the Kimmel Cancer Center opened the Koch Cancer Research Building, which mirrors and connects to the Bunting Blaustein Building.

Art of Healing Program
The Art of Healing program creates an environment with technology to heal the human body but create an environment that was nurturing and comforting to mend the human spirit.  The result is a unique art and music program, including a collection of more than 122 pieces of museum-quality artwork placed throughout the Center as well as live music and dance performances.

Our Mission

  • To be a world leader in the delivery of health care
  • To provide the highest quality care and service for all people in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer
  • To operate cooperatively and interdependently with the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University to support education in the health care professions and research and development into causes and treatment for cancer
  • To be the leading health care institution in the application of discoveries about cancer, translating laboratory research into clinical trials and treatment
  • To attract and support physicians and other health care professionals of the highest character and greatest skill
  • To provide facilities and amenities which promote the highest quality care, afford solace, and enhance the surrounding community

Our Research

The work by Center investigators in cancer genetics and epigenetics is recognized as the classic model for deciphering the mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression. A survey by Thomson Scientific revealed our researchers’ discoveries as the most frequently cited, dubbing our Center a “cancer research powerhouse.” 

The pioneering research that defined cancer as a genetic disease was done at our center.  These discoveries led to the first genetic tests for a hereditary cancer and a screening stool test for colon cancer.  Our investigators were the first to map a cancer genome, deciphering the genetic blueprints for colon, breast, pancreatic, and brain cancers.  Of the 75 cancers for which all genes have been sequenced, 68 have been done at the Kimmel Cancer Center. These discoveries have paved the way for personalized therapies with our investigators undertaking the first use of personalized genome scanning to reveal the gene mutation that caused a person’s inherited from of pancreatic cancer.

Working to understand the effects of methylation patterns on genes, the hallmark of epigenetic alterations, our scientists have used this molecular trail of evidence to develop broad-based cancer screening tests, monitor patients for cancer progression and recurrence, and to determine surgical margins by revealing cancer cells invisible to the human eye.  Research linking DNA methylation to the leukemia precursor myelodysplastic syndrome led to the first FDA approval of a demethylating agent and earned the team recognition from the NCI for the most outstanding research in the SPORE program.

Kimmel Cancer Center researchers were among the first to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines. The Center is home to a GMP facility that allows scientists to produce the vaccines for clinical trials. Among the most successful of the vaccines is a pancreas cancer vaccine that turns on the immune system and leads immune cells, typically blind to cancer, to attack cancer cells in the pancreas and throughout the body was developed here.  In recent clinical studies, a small number of patients were vaccinated two weeks prior to surgery, jumpstarting their immune systems and then allowing, for the first time, doctors to see and begin to understand exactly what the immune systems does in the pancreas. Other vaccines for cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia also were developed here.

Kimmel Cancer Center researchers were among the first to perform bone marrow transplants to treat blood and immune-forming cancers. Now, they have expanded upon this early expertise becoming the first to perform haploid (half)-identical transplants, increasing the number of patients who can take advantage of the curative therapy.  Breakthroughs managing graft vs. host disease have made transplants possible for patients who do not have identical donor matches.
Unique collaborations among leaders in science and medicine as well as engineering, physics, and other disciplines have allowed our Center investigators to tackle problems of great scope and obtain solutions that would not otherwise be possible.  

The mission of the Kimmel Cancer Center is to go beyond the cutting edge in science and medicine to perform the most advanced research and translate the discoveries into the very best cancer therapies. The latest, plus some—is how Kimmel Cancer Center Director William Nelson describes this objective, pointing to state-of-the-art as just the starting point of what we offer.

Distinguished Honors

  • Stephen Baylin, M.D., received the NCI Alfred G. Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics (2010)
  • Carol Greider, Ph.D., received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery that the enzyme telomerase restores telomeres (tiny protective caps that protect the ends of chromosomes) and protects them from damage. The connection of telomeres and telomerase to cancer development is a major area of research. (2009)
  • Bert Vogelstein, M.D., was awarded the American Society of Clinical Oncology Science of Oncology Award. (2009)
  • Benjamin Carson, M.D., was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for groundbreaking contributions to medicine and inspiring American’s youth to fulfill their educational and personal potential. (2009)
  • Kimmel Cancer Center researchers Stephen Baylin, M.D., and James Herman, M.D., led the Science Watch list of international leaders in the field of epigenetics. (2009)
  • Nancy Davidson, M.D., is elected president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. (William Nelson, M.D., and Martin Abeloff, M.D., are past presidents of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  Donald Coffey, Ph.D., is a past president of the American Association of Cancer Research. (2007)
  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology identifies Kimmel Cancer Center research identifying behaviors and risk factors in HPV-associated oral cancers as one of the six most significant clinical advances. (2007)
  • With more than 90,000 references between them,  five Kimmel Cancer Center investigators were found, in data collected by Thomson Scientific Science Watch to be the most frequently cited in cancer research from 1995-2005. With researchers Stephen Baylin, James Herman, Kenneth Kinzler, David Sidransky, and Bert Vogelstein accounting for the top five in oncology, the Kimmel Cancer Center is dubbed a cancer research powerhouse having profound influence on modern scientific thought.  (2005)
  • Our cancer center was renamed the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center  at Johns Hopkins—after Sidney Kimmel, founder and chairman of Jones Apparel Group, donated $150 million for cancer research and care to Johns Hopkins University, marking the largest single gift to the institution.  (2001)
  • Molecular genetics pioneer Bert Vogelstein, M.D., is found by Thomson Scientific Science Watch to be the most frequently cited scientist in all of medicine making his cancer gene studies the classic model for all cancer research. (2000)

Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE):
The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center was the first NCI-designated cancer center to win multiple SPOREs.  In 2004, research by investigators Stephan Baylin, M.D., and James Herman, M.D., was recognized as the most outstanding in the SPORE program. Today the Cancer Center has SPOREs in:

  • Lung cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Lymphoma

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA):
The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center earned $3.1 million, one of the largest amounts awarded, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) share of stimulus funding.  The awards represent two of just 35 NIH administrative supplement grants made across the country with funding received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It is supporting recruitment of talented new faculty to the Kimmel Cancer Center.  More information on Johns Hopkins ARRA grants.


Read Our Blogs
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Our Cancer: for caregivers

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