Cancer Center nears opening with gala event tonight
State-of-the-art facility boosts patient care
while enhancing work environment for researchers
By AMY ADAMS
Ten years of careful planning culminate today
in the unveiling of the new Stanford Cancer Center at a gala event.
Housed on the first two floors of a new building adjacent to Lucile
Packard Children’s Hospital, the center will consolidate the
medical center’s cancer clinics and resources into a single
structure. It opens its doors to patients March 1.
For cancer patients, the center signals a smoother hospital visit
with less time spent traversing hospital corridors. For faculty,
the new building offers a fertile environment for conversation,
collaboration and clinical trials.
Faculty for the first time will be housed according to cancer
specialty with surgeons, oncologists and radiologists who focus on
a single type of cancer -- such as breast cancer, brain cancer or
blood cancers -- interacting on a daily basis.
The open and
airy architecture of the Stanford Cancer Center is designed with
both the patient and health-care provider in mind. Researchers will
be able to better communicate during clinical trials while patients
will receive care in a consolidated area. Photo: Glen Matsumura/Courtesy of Medical
More than just a congenial space for faculty and a friendlier
atmosphere for patients, the cancer center represents a launching
pad for the School of Medicine’s effort to receive
Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer
Institute. The NCI grant application is in the works now, being
ushered along by Karl Blume, MD, professor of medicine emeritus,
until a new director takes over. The designation recognizes
institutions that conduct programs in three areas: basic research,
clinical care and prevention and control. They also provide
outreach and education to their communities.
“Having this building shows a commitment on the part of the
school to become a comprehensive cancer center,” said
Branimir Sikic, MD, professor of medicine. The grant application
requires that the funded facility have a significant focus on
clinical trials. This need has lead to extensive changes and
improvements in the Cancer Clinical Trials Office, directed by
The CCTO will occupy a highly visible position in the new building
-- near the kitchen and coffee machine. “It’s important
that we’re there because it’s beneficial for people
conducting the clinical trials to rub elbows. There’s more
opportunity for cross-fertilization and a sense of
community,” Sikic said.
Not only will trial leaders be rubbing elbows, but the research
staff will have more opportunity to compare notes. The research
nurses involved in clinical trials will all share a room and the
clinical staff also will have joint office space.
Sikic thinks the new cancer center opens at a critical time in
cancer research. “We are in an era of cancer research that is
unparalleled. There is a confluence of knowledge that is just
waiting for someone to put it to use,” he said. He hopes the
new building and the cancer clinical trials office’s expanded
role can help Stanford faculty be among the leaders in capitalizing
on new research made possible by the human genome project and
advances in genetics and protein research.
“A lot of the changes in the cancer clinical trials office
are tied to the National Cancer Institute grant,” said Miriam
Bischoff, associate director of the CCTO. Among other things, the
grant requires that the school maintain databases to track trials
and coordinate certain research resources.
Photos: Glen Matsumura/Courtesy of
Mark Welton, MD, associate professor of surgery, is among those who
have already benefited from NCI-fueled attention to clinical trials
resources. “I think there will be new trials we can get going
with their support,” he said. The office coordinates part-
time research nurses, has recently purchased a new database for
managing clinical trial data and helps coordinate the trials
approval process. “By having those people with us in the new
cancer center my nurse is free to conduct trials,” Welton
The CCTO also helps researchers complete regulatory applications,
maintains an online list of cancer clinical trials at Stanford and
leads the advisory committee that evaluates trials at Stanford for
scientific merit. A CCTO survey of other comprehensive cancer
centers suggests the NCI looks favorably on schools that conduct a
scientific review before a trial goes through a school’s
regulatory approval process.
Having more and better-run trials fulfills more than just the
school’s goal of joining the existing 39 NCI-designated
centers. It is also central to the school’s mission of
translating research advances into medical treatments. Philip
Pizzo, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, has specified
translational medicine as a major goal for the school.
Welton pointed out that streamlining the current clinical trials
office and having a state-of-the-art facility could also make
Stanford a more appealing place for research collaborations.
“Having a good trials office in the new building can help us
participate in national trials. It’s a tremendous
opportunity,” he said. Welton has trials under way in
cervical and anal cancer.
The new building will house other clinical care facilities on its
third floor, which will open for patients at a later date.
What they’re saying about the Cancer
“There was a great need for this building, and the starting
point was how to enhance patient care. From the moment you enter
its doors you know you are in a place dedicated to healing and
hope.” -- Martha Marsh, president and CEO of Stanford
Hospital & Clinics
“The opening of the our new cancer center, along with our new
Stanford Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine and
our efforts to receive National Cancer Institute designation as a
Comprehensive Cancer Center, affirm and enhance Stanford’s
position among the nation’s premier cancer care
providers.”-- Philip Pizzo, MD, dean of the School of
“We are establishing a new model of outpatient cancer care,
based on our years of experience, to make it accessible and
unique.”-- Richard Hoppe, MD, chair of the Department of
Radiation Oncology and the Henry S. Kaplan-Harry Lebeson Professor
of Cancer Biology
“Our goal is to harness the diverse intellectual and
scientific resources in basic research and clinical programs to
encourage new thinking and new approaches for the betterment of
cancer patients” -- Branimir (Brandy) Sikic, MD,
professor of oncology and director of Stanford’s Cancer
Clinical Trials Office.
“The new center will enable surgeons to work even more
closely with radiation and medical oncologists. That is a big
advantage: We will be able to get new therapies to patients faster
and get better results with tumors that are currently
untreatable.” -- Jeffrey Norton, MD, professor of surgery
and chief of the division of surgical oncology.
Correction: The phone number to RSVP is (866)