UC Cancer Center opening dedicated blood cancer facility

University of Cincinnati Cancer Center is opening a $158 million facility dedicated solely to advancing research and treatment for various types of blood cancer.

Officials believe the Blood Cancer Healing Center has the potential to help Southwest Ohio further establish itself as a primary destination for investments in innovative research for diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. But it will also give the more than 1.6 million Americans who battle blood cancer every year a place to receive novel therapies, world-class treatment and other vital wrap-around services all under one roof.

“The center was designed with input from patients and their caregivers, with access to the newest therapies and supports in one physical space, making healing possible for the mind, body and spirit and advancing research for the next cure for this disease,” said Cory Shaw, president and CEO of UC Health, one of the Cancer Center partners.

Rendering courtesy Champlin Architecture

Located on Burnet Avenue, the state-of-the-art facility will offer comprehensive patient support and innovative treatments for blood cancer patients.

Care will be given around the clock in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The complex will have 30 inpatient beds, outpatient and infusion clinics, survivorship and supportive services and a dedicated clinical trials unit. It’ll feature novel therapies and other treatments options, including those involving cellular and stem cells.

Clinical services will begin this summer as part of a phased opening approach. The plan is to open other spaces within the facility in 2025. The estimated price tag for completing the first two phases is $158 million.

Beyond treating just the cancer, the center intends will offer patients group wellness spaces and other integrative health therapies. The goal is to support patients at every stage, mitigate side effects during treatment and enhance overall quality of life, according to Dr. John C. Byrd, a Cancer Center physician-researcher.

Dr. John C. Byrd

Byrd – chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at UC College of Medicine – received credit as the visionary behind the new center. He’s one of the leading figures in blood cancer research, having contributed to such work as eliminating chemotherapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.

“Research advancements for many forms of blood cancer are giving new life to patients. You can now survive years past a blood cancer diagnosis, managing it as a chronic illness,” he said.

“The Blood Cancer Healing Center supports this new life for patients by bringing all the needed supportive services and pioneering research together to deliver personalized care in one therapeutic environment.”

Collaboration is key

Since its founding in 2020, the Cancer Center has created a formidable coalition of expertise boasting a membership of over 250 researchers and physician-scientists from the University of Cincinnati, UC Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the nation’s top ranked pediatric cancer care and overall children’s hospital. 

Over the years, the center established a robust portfolio of peer-reviewed cancer research grants and prides itself at being at the forefront of discovering innovative approaches for cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and survival.

“The Blood Cancer Healing Center is an important part of the comprehensive care being amplified and coordinated within the Cancer Center,” said Dr. Steve Davis, president and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s. He voiced pride in being part of a network of researchers and caregivers working together to “care for and cure cancers affecting people of all ages, both here and around the world.”

Rendering courtesy Champlin Architecture

Dr. Andrew Filak, dean of the UC College of Medicine, took that one step further by saying the new speciality facility will help the Cancer Center enhance that reputation. He described it as enabling all the project partners to set a “higher standard for cancer care.”

Beyond direct patient care, the design of the Blood Cancer Healing Center aims to increase collaboration between researchers and industry partners. A dedicated laboratory space is set to open next year.

Filak believes the new 212,000 square-foot facility further establishes Cincinnati as an attractive place to invest in new research. Just as important, he said, it makes the region an even more desirable destination for some of the nation’s top physician-scientists.

The Cancer Center currently has 256 clinicians and researchers. When finished, the Blood Cancer Healing Center expects to employ over 200 full-time employees of its own, including clinical and supportive staff.

“Under the leadership of our exceptional faculty, the innovative Blood Cancer Healing Center will attract top researchers, improve patient care and expand education and prevention programs that ultimately improve quality of life in Cincinnati and beyond,” Filak continued.

An investment in UC, Cincinnati

In recent years, the University of Cincinnati and UC Health have been the recipients of generosity and support from near and far. Last September, UC announced it had eclipsed its lofty $2 billion fundraising goal nearly a full year ahead of schedule.

Dollars raised through the years-long Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati go toward student support, university programs and athletics, but also research and health care offerings.

Donations received have already supported the construction of new facilities, patient care initiatives and research at UC Health, Greater Cincinnati’s only academic health care system. This includes investments for construction of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, an outpatient care and clinical research facility; renovation of the inpatient neuroscience intensive care unit at University of Cincinnati Medical Center; and construction of the new emergency department at UC Medical Center that opened in July.

UC College of Medicine students

UC President Neville G. Pinto described the Blood Cancer Healing Center as the latest major milestone and investment in the university and the region.

The facility received a combined investment of $131 million from the UC and UC Health. Other funding sources include operational dollars, financing, philanthropic and community support, including New Markets Tax Credits secured through Uptown Consortium.

“The University of Cincinnati Cancer Center’s new Blood Cancer Healing Center will be a home for newfound innovation,” Pinto said. “This space connects all the integral partners that work together to lead high-impact discoveries in cancer research.”

University of Cincinnati Cancer Center

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