January 24, 2018

UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center Celebrates Opening with Dedication Event

BY Rolaynne Kimmons

A new standard of cancer care is now close to home with the opening of UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center in Tyler. As the newest member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network®, the center joins six U.S. partner healthcare institutions and three international facilities united by one mission: to end cancer.

Enhanced local access to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s multi- disciplinary approach, treatment innovations, and standards of care are the hallmarks of this partnership. In the future, as the program expands, select clinical trials and other research opportunities will be added.

“When the vision of expanding our cancer program was conceived 10 years ago, there were fewer than 4,000 people in Northeast Texas diagnosed with cancer that year. This year, more than 10,000 people are expected to be diagnosed,” said UT Health Northeast President Dr. Kirk Calhoun.

“This partnership will significantly impact our families, friends and communities – reducing cancer rates and improving outcomes,” he said. “For adult patients in Northeast Texas and parts of Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, truly exceptional cancer care is now easier to access and more convenient to home.”

This most recent partnership between the two UT institutions is the result of the commitment by The University of Texas System to leverage the size and expertise of its healthcare institutions to capitalize on their shared missions of education, clinical care, research and community service to better serve the citizens of Texas.

“This new partnership is a prime example of what can be accomplished when two great institutions bring their strengths together,” said Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., UT System’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs. “UT Health Northeast has deep knowledge and experience in serving this region. MD Anderson Cancer Center is the world's leader in cancer care. Together, they will bring state-of-the-art medical care to the people of Northeast Texas.”

MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world’s most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education, and prevention. Through its network®, MD Anderson collaborates with community hospitals and health systems to elevate the quality of cancer care nationwide and around the world.

“Collaboration is key to continuing our advance against cancer. In UT Health Northeast, we have a partner committed to our mission to end cancer,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president, MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Together, leveraging each institution’s strengths, we are bringing a new standard of innovative cancer care to this community. Through the new UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center, we look forward to engaging with those who need us most during their cancer journey.”

By integrating the highly coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to the care standards pioneered by MD Anderson, UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center will provide patients and their families with access to treatment approaches and protocols developed at the nation’s leading cancer center. Physicians can refer their patients to UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center or patients with a confirmed diagnosis of cancer can self-refer.

Elected officials from Texas also provided their support for this partnership.

“Texas is blessed with some of the world’s finest medical research and healthcare centers, and the partnership between MD Anderson and UT Health Northeast is an exciting new development for patients, physicians and researchers,” said U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. “By pooling resources and working together, the opportunities for successful treatments and cutting-edge therapies will be greater than ever, benefiting the entire Northeast Texas region.”

“I am grateful for the men and women at UT Health Northeast and MD Anderson, and their dedicated fight against cancer,” said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. “With the dynamic combination of innovative science and technology development and exemplary patient care, the partnership of these two institutions is excellent news for the state of Texas and its leadership in the future of cancer treatment. This collaboration will produced life-changing results, and I look forward to their continued effectiveness in providing care for Texans.”

UT Health hosted a dedication and celebration today to launch UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center located on Hwy. 271 in Tyler. Dignitaries from The University of Texas System and MD Anderson Cancer Center, as well as local elected officials, patients, employees, and the public attended the event.

Speakers included Dr. Kirk Calhoun, UT Health president; Dr. Ray Greenberg, UT System executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs; Dr. Steve Hahn, MD Anderson deputy president and chief operating officer; Regent Kevin Eltife, UT System Board of Regents; Tyler Mayor Martin Heines; UT Health Development Board President Mike Allen, and UT Health cancer patient and survivor Jean Daigle of Lindale.

Posting of colors was presented by John Tyler High School’s Junior ROTC program under the direction of Lt. Col. Janie Eddins. The National Anthem was led by Barry Sartain along with the Winona High School Band and director Justin Ketner.

A History of Cancer Care at UT Health Northeast

The UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center has grown from the UT Health Northeast Cancer Treatment and Prevention Center, which first opened its doors in November 2011. The new cancer center builds on the practice that puts the patient at the forefront of every decision made, including convenient access to advanced treatment technologies, groundbreaking clinical trials, and a full range of supportive care services all in one location.

The center’s focus is to provide patients with advanced, patient-centered and compassionate care, including medical oncology, radiation therapy, surgical oncology, immunology, pathology, laboratory and diagnostic imaging, as well as other clinical and support services.

The center is accredited with commendations from the Commission on Cancer, an organization that sets rigorous accreditation standards to ensure cancer care is patient- centered, measured against national standards to improve outcomes, and also focused on prevention, research and education.