About the National Cancer Center

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About The National Cancer Center

Our History

One out of every five deaths in America is from cancer. And perhaps saddest of all, cancer causes more deaths in children between the ages of 1 and 14 years than any other disease.

National Cancer Center was founded by Dr. J. Ernest Ayre in 1953 as a non-profit organization committed to research and education about cancer. Dr. J. Ernest Ayre was a pioneer in refining and promoting the Pap test for women. The Pap test has been the major factor in reducing deaths from cervical cancer by 70%. Dr. Ayre was also one of the first researchers to recognize the enormous potential of Interferon for cancer treatment.

Dr. Ayre's dedication and accomplishments have been the standard for the work we have carried forward for over 60 years. We are currently assisting researchers at a number of universities including Duke University, Yale Univiversity, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, John Hopkins University, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. more...


Our Focus

The focus of National Cancer Center is two-fold: research and education.

We are dedicated to the task of seeking out and providing financial support to researchers undertaking thorough, innovative, and promising studies on topics related to conquering cancer.

The National Cancer Center’s Commitment to Basic Research

Despite the development of new and effective treatments for various forms of cancer, many patients still succumb to this disease.  Novel approaches are needed to improve patient outcomes and to develop a better understanding of how and why cancer develops in different tissues in the first place.

Just what is “basic cancer research”?  It is the scientific investigation into how the body’s immune system sees and responds to cancer when it initially develops, research that seeks to reveal how and why cancer cells are resistant to different treatments.  Such knowledge can, it is hoped, lead to strategies which are effective in overcoming that resistance.

This fundamental research is often carried out by post-doctoral scientists and physicians who, working under the mentorship of established professional investigators, are at the beginning of their scientific careers.

Financial support for these young scientists is keenly important in order to train the next generation of cancer researchers and continue the rapid progress that is being made in the development of new cancer therapies.  And it is this specific and critical financial support which NCC provides through contributions from donors like you.

The National Cancer Center’s Commitment to Education

The National Cancer Center also educates Americans on how they can reduce their risk of cancer. Over the past few years, NCC has distributed a number of education and prevention packets on such topics as breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer, as well as needle biopsy aspiration. Other areas of our work include mailing information packets designed to help prevent skin cancer during summer months. (If you would like further information on any of this material, please write to us at NCC, 88 Sunnyside Boulevard, Suite 307, Plainview, NY 11803.)

We are committed to finding a cure.

We need your help to fund cancer research projects and cutting edge treatments. With your support and the work of dedicated scientists and doctors a cure can't be far away.


Our Board

Barry J. Peek, ESQ., President  bio...

Jeremy Paul JD, CFP®, AIF®, CDFA®, Vice President/Treasurer  bio..

Raymond L. Forsythe  bio..

Regina English  bio...

Margaret Cantillon O’Leary  more...

Kris DiSanti, Administrative Assistant
Eileen Jackson, Administrative Clerk

Scientific Advisory Board

Darell D. Bigner, M.D., Ph. D. Chairman  more...

John M. Kirkwood, M.D. more...

Janet M.D. Plate, Ph.D. more...

Jerome Ritz, M.D. more...



Canadian-born James Ernest Ayre, M.D., was a gynecologist who sought to find a cure for cancer through research into immunology and cytology, cytology being the microscopic study of cells to detect abnormalities and malignancies.

A 1936 graduate in medicine from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, after three years in general practice, Dr. Ayre underwent training in obstetrics and gynecology at Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital.  In 1945, he was appointed director of the gynecological cytology laboratory at Royal Victoria Hospital and two years later was named an honorary Fellow of the American Medical Association and Diplomate in Gynecology of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Along with Dr. George Papanicolaou, Dr. Ayre was a pioneer in cytological cancer detection methods as early as the 1940’s when such research was in its beginning stages.

His impact upon the field, especially in the area of women’s health, was groundbreaking.  In collaboration with Dr. Papanicolaou, he was co-inventor of the Ayre Spatula, the instrument still used today to collect cervical cells for the detection of cancer.  After being granted a U.S. patent in 1949, he donated to the American Cancer Society all the profits from the sale of his cervical scraper.  He soon moved to the United States and became a U.S. citizen in 1951.

Dr. Ayre’s creative approach to cancer diagnosis continued apace with his invention of the gastric brush and other instruments employed in the diagnosis of cancers of the lung, throat, stomach and colon.  Further, he introduced the cyto-sputum kit, a simple but brilliant test which uses saliva to detect pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the mouth, throat and lung.

Dr. Ayre was also in the front ranks of early researchers into the enormous cancer treatment potential of the drug Interferon.  Today, Interferon is used to treat cancers as various as leukemia, melanoma and AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma, as well as such viral infections as chronic hepatitis B and C.

During the course of his sterling career, Dr. Ayre held a number of positions with noted cancer institutions and organizations, among them vice president of the Cancer Cytology Foundation of America, executive vice president of the World Cancer Cytology Congress, and medical and scientific director of the National Cancer Cytology Center. 

The capstone of his dedicated professional life was marked in 1953 when Dr. Ayre founded the National Cancer Cytology Center, forerunner of today’s National Cancer Center.  Committed to research and education about cancer, since 2011 alone the National Cancer Center has provided nearly $2,000,000 in funding for basic research into the cure, prevention and diagnosis of cancer.  We are honored to carry on Dr. Ayre’s legacy through our funding for specialized research projects:  Aggressive Cancer, Breast Cancer, Children’s Cancer and Fighting Childhood Leukemia.



Aggressive Cancer Research

The Aggressive Cancer Research program of NCC specializes in fundraising for colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer.

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The Breast Cancer Project

The Breast Cancer Project specifically funds grants focusing on breast cancer research and prevention. NCC created this program because breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women today (after lung cancer), and is the most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers.

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Children's Cancer Project

The Children's Cancer Project of NCC provides funds for pediatric cancer research and community education.

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Fighting Childhood Leukemia

The Fighting Childhood Leukemia (FCL) program of NCC provides additional research funding for the single most common form of cancer in children, leukemia.  Childhood leukemias account for more than one-third of all new cases of childhood cancers.

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  • "The National Cancer Center fills an extremely important function in funding postdoctoral fellowships. Postdoctoral fellows are essential to conduct the cancer research of the investigators of every institution in the country. There is a significant shortage of fellowship funding and many of the applicants, are ineligible for federal funding. The National Cancer Center fills the gap to a significant extent."

    Darell D. Bigner, M.D., Ph.D.
    Edwin L. Jones, Jr. and Lucille Finch Jones
    Cancer Research Professor
    Director, Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke
    Chief, Preuss Laboratory for Brain Tumor Research
  • "I believe that the funding of early-phase cancer research investigators, both pre-doctoral and post-doctoral, is one of the key needs we have in this time. The NCC is oriented to filling this gap, and has supported trainees in a number of critical areas of investigation."

    John M. Kirkwood, MD Professor of Medicine,
    Dermatology and Translational Science Co-Director,
    Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program
    University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
    Hillman Cancer Outpatient Pavilion
  • "For those individuals who want to establish a career in cancer research, the first few years are critical as they identify scientific mentors and begin their research projects. NCC fellowship grants focus on these individuals and your rigorous selection process helps identify the most talented young investigators likely to have great impact on the field."

    Jerome Ritz, MD Executive Director,
    Connell O’Reilly Cell Manipulation Core Facility
    Professor of Medicine
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Harvard Medical School