The Masonic Cancer Center creates a collaborative research environment focused on the causes, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer; applying that knowledge to improve quality of life for patients and survivors; and sharing its discoveries with other scientists, students, professionals, and the community. 


Founded in 1991, the cancer center became a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in 1998, one of only 51 institutions in the United States and two in Minnesota to hold that designation.

The Masonic Cancer Center was founded in 1991. It is part of the University's Academic Health Center, which also includes the Medical School, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine. The Masonic Cancer Center's research partners include the University’s Stem Cell Institute, Center for Immunology, the Center for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, the Clinical and Translational Science Center and the Physical Sciences in Oncology Center; and its clinical research and treatment partners include University of Minnesota Health Cancer Care, University of Minnesota Medical Center, and University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

Director’s message

Douglas Yee, M.D.Douglas Yee, M.D.

The Masonic Cancer Center serves as the hub for cancer research at the University of Minnesota. Our 500 members apply their expertise to the broad problem of cancer with research in cancer causes, prevention, treatment, outcomes, and survivorship. The progress we’ve seen in reducing the burden of cancer can be directly attributed to research advances.

How are we “Advancing Knowledge; Enhancing Care”?

  • We bring together experts from different fields to tackle a cancer from all angles. Basic science researchers collaborate to understand if a discovery in one tumor type works in another tumor type. Doctors who treat patients meet with clinical researchers, lab-based researchers and public health practitioners to connect the dots in each of the major disease types. And community experts advise and recommend strategies to address the unique research and care needs of the diverse populations of Minnesotans.
  • We provide the space, equipment, resources, and organization for the research to happen and get into the clinic and community.
  • We offer state-of-the-art cancer treatments at M Health hospitals and clinics as a result of our ability to translate our research findings into new clinical therapies for cancer care.

We have amazing partners:

  • Patients who participate in clinical trials to treatment, outcomes and survivorship.
  • Non-patients who participate in clinical trials to gain insight into the causes and best ways to prevent and detect cancer.
  • Advocates who increase awareness and emphasizing the importance of cancer research.
  • Philanthropic organizations whose contributions, such as the historic $65 million gift from Minnesota Masonic Charities, represent the type of long-term community commitment critical to our success.
  • Community organizations who advise us and take the research findings to all Minnesotans.
  • Federal and state funding agencies whose grants support the career-making academic research.

Thank you for visiting our website and for your interest in cancer research. I hope this site serves as an important resource for your questions about cancer research, prevention, treatment, and survivorship. For more information about the Masonic Cancer Center please feel free to contact us at our cancer information line, 612-624-2620 or send us an email at ccinfo@umn.edu. We are here to help!

Douglas Yee, M.D.
Director, Masonic Cancer Center
John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research

A Legacy of Masonic Support

In April 2008, Minnesota Masonic Charities presented the University of Minnesota with an extraordinary gift of $65 million—the largest gift ever made to the University—to seek the cure for cancer. In recognition of the gift, the name of the University's cancer center was changed to Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

Biannual report