CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) –  On Tuesday, the University of Virginia Cancer Center became the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Virginia.

With this designation, the cancer center will be able to help even more patients across the state.

UVA will be one of just 52 National Cancer Institutes in the country. There are about 200 employees at the center who go above and beyond, finding new ways to treat and prevent cancer. 

The UVA Cancer Center is known for treating complex cancers that are not as responsive to traditional treatment methods.

Dr. Craig Kent, UVA Hospital CEO, said he looks forward to helping more patients and finding new treatments. 

“We here at UVA Health want to be part of that research, part of that growth in cancer care. It's just exciting to be one of the few places in the nation where that innovation takes place,” Kent said.

Since 2014, UVA’s patient-care volume has grown by more than 50 percent, with many patients traveling great distances to access its specialists.

Over the last four years, funding for cancer research at UVA has increased 45 percent, totaling more than $30 million in 2020.