SAVANNAH, GA (November 20, 2006) -- A cadre of world-renowned scientists working in the most promising areas of cancer research have come together to work as a team at one institution – Memorial Health – to accelerate findings for the prevention and treatment of cancer.
The new approach to making advances in cancer research is focused on a "boundary-less" environment which the scientists expect will stimulate faster, cross-disciplinary results and increased collaboration between scientists and physicians. The "boundary-less" approach applies to all aspects of the research and even extends to the physical facility which features a laboratory that literally has no internal walls.
This team of scientists, all recruited from top institutions in the United States, is focused exclusively on translational – or "bench to bedside" – research of molecular genetics, allowing them to work closely with physicians to translate laboratory findings into individualized treatments, earlier diagnostics, and new cancer prevention methods for patients.
Tapped to lead Memorial Health's newly created Laboratory Research Program, Jeff Boyd, Ph.D., a distinguished scientist from Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, selected some of the nation's top research talent including Dominique Broccoli, Ph.D., Fox Chase Cancer Center; Nagendra Ningaraj, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; Ranjan Perera, Ph.D., Burnham Institute, La Jolla, California; Apostolos Psychogios, M.D., Harvard University; John Risinger, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute; and, Cindy Yee, Ph.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Utilizing the "boundary-less" approach, the scientists will help put Memorial Health's new $22 million William and Iffath Hoskins Center for Biomedical Research at the leading edge of cancer research.
"Bringing together this talented group of scientists in a shared environment conducting translational research exclusively focused on molecular genetics provides an opportunity for extraordinary synergy. It is realistic and possible that we will make discoveries that could lead to better diagnostic tests, regiments and treatments which move toward a cure," said Dr. William Hoskins, senior vice president of oncology and research at Memorial Health and director of the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute.
"Developing a Center for Biomedical Research from the ground up and recruiting internationally-renowned cancer research scientists to collaboratively move the program forward provides us with a real opportunity to raise the bar in healthcare," said Robert Colvin, president and CEO of Memorial Health.
Biomedical Research Program
The new research facility – William and Iffath Hoskins Center for Biomedical Research – operates under a tumor site-specific or scientific discipline-specific translational program structure (e.g., women's cancer, pediatric cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, cancer biology and genetics, experimental therapeutics, etc.). This parallels the Disease Management Team structure existing in the clinical facility of the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute* (ACI) at Memorial Health. The goal of this structure is to most effectively translate research findings from the lab directly to improved cancer prevention, diagnosis, prognostication, and treatment. These laboratory research programs will exist within the Department of Laboratory Oncology Research.
The cornerstone of the translational laboratory research program will be a comprehensive clinical cancer genetics service, coupled directly with a research and development laboratory. This Department of Diagnostic Molecular Genetics will provide genetic testing, genetic counseling, and board-certified medical genetics care all under one roof. A crucial aspect of the program is the scientists' ability to identify individuals at genetic risk for cancer, and to design appropriate interventional strategies for prevention of cancer in the susceptible segment of the population. ACI will have the capability to survey the human genome in individual patients' tumors in order to identify unique genetic pathways that have been altered, leading to the implementation of "targeted" or "personalized" cancer therapy.
Memorial Health is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship, Memorial Health University Medical Center, a 530-bed tertiary medical center; CareOne, its two-state home care division; Memorial Health primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. Memorial Health has been named a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates three years in a row. We are also one of Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For.
*The Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial Health University Medical Center is not affiliated with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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