New $158M center marks milestone in fight against blood cancer

The University of Cincinnati Cancer Center has celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art Blood Cancer Healing Center, considered by UC Health officials as a revolutionizing facility for the treatment of blood cancer and other blood-related diseases.

The formal debut of the new site at 3232 Healing Way – formerly known as 3229 Burnet Ave. in Cincinnati’s Uptown neighborhood – marks a historic milestone in the approach to addressing blood cancers in the United States, per UC Health.

It is the only blood cancer center in the nation where patients can access all their care – inpatient and outpatient, survivorship, integrative medicine, spiritual care, bench-to-bedside research, and more – in one accessible building.

“The Blood Cancer Healing Center embodies a new chapter in cancer care. With personalized, holistic care and pioneering research coming together under one roof, we are not just treating patients; we are giving them hope for a brighter future,” said Dr. John C. Byrd, a physician-researcher for UC Cancer Center.

Because of breakthroughs in blood cancer research, patients diagnosed with blood cancer, depending upon the type, can manage it and live for many years, Byrd said. 

“For others, we still have lots of work to do,” he added, “but the new therapies pursued in this center will hopefully afford progress toward this.”

Creating a home-like setting for patients

Byrd is a leading figure in blood cancer care and research globally. He’s also the visionary behind the Blood Cancer Healing Center, which he believes it’s going to offer care in an “accessible setting that feels like home for patients.”

That’s big for people such as Rick Webster, a patient at UC Cancer Center, who was in attendance Monday. Webster received a leukemia diagnosis in 2022.

Blood cancers affect blood cells and bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside the bones where blood cells are made. Other types of blood cancer are lymphoma and myeloma. More than 1.6 million individuals, such as Webster, are affected by blood cancers every year.

“If I could describe it in one word, it would be ‘comfort,’” Webster said of what the new Blood Cancer Healing Center means to his treatment journey.

“The dedication and commitment that the University of Cincinnati is putting forward here is incredible,” he continued. “You don’t have to go to multiple buildings or a separate (emergency room). 

“For blood cancer patients, it’s very important.”

Supporting cancer patients at all stages of their fight

The Blood Cancer Health Center is the latest facility for the UC Cancer Center. Since its founding in 2020, the organization has created a formidable coalition of more than 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 new Blood Cancer Healing Center furthers those efforts by providing a full suite of wraparound services for its patients.

The 218,000-square-foot facility features 30 inpatient beds, outpatient and infusion clinics, survivorship and supportive services, and an extended care area that will offer round-the-clock outpatient symptom support for all cancer patients. The center will also offer novel therapies and cutting-edge medical options such as cellular and stem cell therapies.

Patients will also have access to a range of integrative therapies – mental wellness, support mitigating side effects of treatment, etc. – focused on enhancing patients’ quality of life throughout their cancer journey. 

“The opening of the Blood Cancer Healing Center heralds a new era in patient-centered care,” said Cory Shaw, president and CEO of UC Health. He referred to the space as “a haven” that provides not only comprehensive care but also “hope for a brighter future.” 

“We’re proud to lead the way in transforming patient care and advancing research for the next cure,” he continued.

Building toward a cancer cure

Monday’s ceremony celebrated the start of clinical services at the facility, which had an initial price tag of roughly $158 million. UC Health plans to open additional spaces within the center throughout the rest of the year and into 2025.

Once completed, the Blood Cancer Health Center will employ over 200 full-time employees, including clinical and supportive staff.

The project received a combined investment of $131 million from the University of Cincinnati and UC Health. But this week’s ribbon-cutting wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of Frances and Craig Lindner and other donors who monetized their commitment to helping to redefine care standards for patients and their caregivers.

Donations to the Blood Cancer Healing Center were part of the UC’s record-breaking $2 billion Next, Now capital campaign.

“This facility represents a significant step forward in our mission to provide the best possible care for those affected by blood cancers,” Byrd said.

University of Cincinnati Cancer Center

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