Integrated Disease Programs: Cancer
Leader: Richard I. Fisher, M.D.
Cancer care and research are key elements of the 2007 University of Rochester Medical Center strategic plan because this disease is the second leading cause of death in our nation.
The James P. Wilmot Cancer Center has a rich history of providing outstanding, multidisciplinary cancer care and research. The cancer center is recognized for its expertise in leukemia and lymphomas, urologic oncology and cancer control programs and innovations in radiation oncology. With robust clinical research programs, the Wilmot Cancer Center is also home to one of only a handful of cancer stem cell research programs in the United States.
Cancer incidence is on the rise and the Wilmot Cancer Center has charted patient-volume increases of 15-20 percent annually over the past five years, a symptom of our aging population. As the primary resource for cancer care in the Finger Lakes region, oncologists project continued growth as the baby-boomers age and face cancer diagnoses.
This clinical and research growth is paired with the unprecedented investment in the construction of a new 163,000-square-foot facility, which will be complete in May. This four-story building will bring the outpatient clinical programs into a single location, adjacent to translational research laboratories. The construction and aggressive recruitment of more than 20 clinician/scientists over the past five years marks an investment of more than $65 million.
The Wilmot Cancer Center aims to triple its NCI research funding, growing from $10 million today to $30 million, and build national-level clinical programs for the five most common cancers (leukemia and lymphomas, breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.) To meet these goals, a team of NCI-funded cancer immunologists will be recruited to collaborate with the Medical Center’s cadre of immunologists who have large, successful programs in a variety of areas.
Cancer vaccines are rapidly emerging as therapeutic options for patients and oncologists. The Medical Center has one of the strongest immunology programs in the country. Scientists are researching a variety of aspects of cancer vaccines, however the effort needs coordination and a visionary leader. Establishment of a comprehensive cancer immunology program is critical to broadening the expertise and creation of a center of excellence here in Rochester.
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