Newswise — The Cancer Therapy & Research Center has been an NCI-designated cancer center since 1993 and part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio since 2007. One of four NCI cancer centers in Texas and the only one in South Texas, the CTRC serves a region approaching 5 million people and cares for patients from around the world.

We see the most courageous people in the world here every day. They inspire us, and we employ the best technology and treatments to help them fight their tumors, regain their health, to look forward to a cancer-freer future for them and for their families. In that process, they become our own family at the CTRC.

The South Texas population is majority-Hispanic. We serve them with prevention, outreach and research initiatives that focus on diseases that disproportionately affect them. We enroll a large percentage of Hispanic and minority participants — up to 45 percent — in our clinical trials. This matters not only to our local population, but to the entire country, as the Hispanic population grows nationwide and as the solutions to cancer for the U.S. are first discovered here.

The clinical trials offered at the CTRC include industry-sponsored trials as well as the most cutting-edge studies developed by our own investigators. These studies meld the advanced discoveries of our basic sciences and the innovative treatments of our highly experienced physicians, with the goal of making a major impact on prevention and cure of cancer. Many of these studies are overseen by our Institute for Drug Development, one of the finest early-stage clinical trials organizations in the world.

Cancer does not occur in a vacuum, and we don’t treat it in silos. Our patients are treated in a multidisciplinary approach that brings together different specialists to chart the best course of treatment for each individual. The result is not only superior cancer care but also fewer burdens on the patient trying to navigate what would otherwise often be confusing and widely-dispersed cancer treatments.

One of our most important responsibilities is training the next generation of physicians and scientists. These will be the doctors who take care of our children and our children’s children. These will be the brilliant laboratory researchers who discovery tomorrow’s cancer cures. This training not only provides the physicians and scientists for San Antonio and South Texas but also those who will care for patients around the world due to our far-flung educational efforts.

We, however, have one overriding philosophy: the best world is one in which no child is diagnosed with leukemia, no mother with breast cancer, no father with prostate cancer. Our most important responsibility is to strive to put ourselves out of business by identifying proven ways to prevent cancer and to then teach physicians and patients how to do so. In practice, this may be through behaviors, diet, or even medications that reduce the risk of cancer. Ultimately, all of these efforts add up to our overriding responsibility: to reduce the burden of cancer.

-----------------------------------------------The Cancer Therapy & Research Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. These centers are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer. They play a vital role in advancing towards NCI's goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer.

This piece does not represent the views of the National Institutes of Health.