A wall from the Lombardi Cancer Center with artwork displayed to show a summary of the center.

Patient Care

Lombardi treats virtually every type of cancer, with a particular emphasis in solid tumors, and adult and pediatric hematologic cancers. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Georgetown among America's 50 Best Hospitals in the area of cancer, reflecting the excellence in care delivered at Lombardi. In July 2000, Georgetown University Hospital became part of MedStar Health, a not-for-profit network of hospitals serving communities throughout the Baltimore and Washington areas.

To maximize the potential of the MedStar Health partnership, Lombardi and MedStar are working together to create a multi-site research network. The network is expanding access to Lombardi's clinical trials throughout the MedStar family of hospitals; together, we see more than 7,000 new cancer cases a year. This effort will increase emphasis on minority accrual and expedite the clinical research process.

Patients treated at Lombardi benefit from the most advanced clinical techniques and equipment, including:

  • CyberKnife, the latest advance in radiation therapy, is a robotic system that delivers precise and concentrated beams of radiation, offering a new option for inoperable tumors and lesions of the brain, neck and spine. Georgetown University Hospital was one of the first area hospitals to install a CyberKnife and is now expanding its capabilities with a second facility.
  • Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center has a significant Phase 1 clinical trials program, which brings potential new cancer therapies into the clinic. Through this program, our physicians offer cancer patients access to the newest advances in cancer therapy.
  • The Jess and Mildred Fisher Center for Familial Cancer Research offers patients diagnosed or with a family history hereditary cancers the opportunity to receive genetic counseling and testing. Each patient is automatically enrolled in the program which creates a familial risk profile that allows doctors to more easily identify and counsel patients at high risk.

The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at Lombardi, opened in 1998, combines in one location all the services needed for optimal breast health. With one appointment, women have access to services including breast examinations, imaging, second opinions, advanced diagnostic procedures such as ductal lavage and core breast biopsies, and genetic testing and counseling.

Lombardi clinicians also participate in multidisciplinary breast cancer, thoracic cancer, GI cancer, and neuro-oncology conferences. All four of these conferences provide patients with coordinated care that brings together in one appointment all of the specialists involved in their treatment.


Today, Lombardi receives more than $100 million in research grants, there are nearly 200 full-time faculty members and 220 ongoing clinical trials. There are six established research programs at Lombardi:

  • The Breast Cancer Research Program consists of faculty members working exclusively on finding a cure for breast cancer. The program is aligned with the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research, which was established in 1989 to be the focal point of Lombardi's breast cancer activity. Founded by fashion designer Ralph Lauren and the late Washington Post Company president Katharine Graham, the center honors their friend Nina Hyde, fashion editor of The Washington Post from 1972 until her death of breast cancer in 1990. The Nina Hyde Center continues to be one of the foremost breast cancer research programs in the world and promotes crucial research seeking better methods of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of breast cancer.
  • The Cancer Prevention and Control Program conducts research across the range of the cancer control process from risk factors and prevention, through early detection, to treatment and survivorship. Lombardi's program is unique in its inclusion of populations across the lifespan - from childhood to older age - and translation from the cellular to the societal policy level. The overall goal of the program is to develop, evaluate and disseminate innovative cancer control interventions designed to reduce the incidence, morbidity and mortality from cancer among high-risk populations.
  • The Experimental Therapeutics Program is a comprehensive translational research program with the major mission of new drug and target discovery for cancer. The program is organized as a drug development "pipeline" with expertise in drug and target discovery, the performance of innovative early Phase clinical research, and disease-specific Phase II and III clinical research.

A new initiative in Drug Discovery is allowing researchers across Lombardi and Georgetown University Medical Center to harness the power of molecular medicine. "Dr. Drug Discovery," Milton Brown, MD, PhD, was recruited in 2006 to lead the initiative. Using a rational process for discovery that includes drug design, synthesis, and evaluation, Dr. Brown and his team of medicinal chemists, are developing small molecules with potential therapeutic properties against druggable molecular targets with applications to cancers and neurological diseases.

Recent Achievements

Lucile L. Adams-Campbell, PhD, Lombardi's associate director for minority health and health disparities research, was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in October, 2008. Membership in the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. Dr. Adams-Campbell is an epidemiologist, specializing in community health research, interventions, and outreach, and has played a leading role in the Washington, DC, cancer and public health community.

For over twenty years, researchers at Lombardi have been instrumental in the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Research led by Dr. Richard Schlegel was instrumental in the development of the vaccine, which is the first preventive treatment for any cancer. The vaccine prevents infection by HPV which causes nearly all cervical cancers worldwide and is the number two cause of cancer death among women. Dr. Schlegel is also a member of the team which received a $3.5 million award from the Gates Foundation to continue developing a new inexpensive, portable HPV vaccine.

Lombardi initiated some of the first clinical trials to test anticancer vaccines. Dr. John Marshall and colleagues have completed an encouraging Phase 1 trial of the TRICOM vaccine, an experimental therapy manufactured by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Therion Corp. The vaccine uses a live virus to deliver four genes, which strengthen the immune system and stimulate the production of cancer-fighting T-cells. Phase 2 and 3 trials are ongoing.


Education and training at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center spans all levels of learning, from programs for minority high school students to postdoctoral fellowships and beyond.

The cancer center administrates four master's programs in:

Lombardi offers a doctorate or combined MD/PhD in tumor biology.

Additionally, three postdoctoral training programs are offered at Lombardi:

Finally, the cancer center is also home to two graduate certificate programs in biostatistics and epidemiology.

Our faculty, staff, and students are challenged and motivated by a robust program of speakers and seminars presented by the best international minds in cancer research.


Several Lombardi researchers and clinicians contributed to the first Washington DC Cancer Control Plan released by the DC Department of Health in April 2006. The Executive Committee which oversaw the report was co-chaired by Dr. Jeanne Mandelblatt. The plan calls for increased access to care for underserved and minority populations in the city.

The Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC), located at 650 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, opened in April 2004 and is a major initiative to reduce breast cancer disparities in Washington, DC. The CBCC offers health education, genetic counseling and testing, clinical breast exams, and mammograms regardless of a woman's ability to pay. A health navigator is on staff to help women who receive a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Lombardi and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) have joined forces to investigate ways of increasing cancer awareness and reducing cancer incidence among African Americans, who bear a disproportionately high burden of certain types of cancer. The partnership includes a UDC master's program in cancer biology, prevention, and control taught by Lombardi faculty, and outreach and education for the DC community.

Celebramos la Vida!, translated as "Let's Celebrate Life," is a free clinic offered to Latina women 40 years and older who might not otherwise obtain mammograms, pap smears, or related health education. The screening is provided one Saturday each month at Lombardi's Ourisman Breast Health Clinic.