April 16, 2014
Building a personalized approach to cancer therapy
BY MD Anderson Staff
In 2011, the MD Anderson Cancer Center received a $150 million gift — the largest in the history of the institution — from the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation. Three years later, construction of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalized Cancer Care is well underway, with the exterior completed and a "move-in" date set for spring 2015.
The 12-floor, 626,000-square-foot facility will be home to the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, an international center of clinical excellence focusing on using the latest advances in genetic information to develop safe, more effective treatments for patients on a case-by-case basis. That includes support for preclinical research and clinical trials in which each patient's cancer cells are examined to determine their specific genetic and molecular mutations in order to tailor therapy to the patient's needs.
The building also will be the nerve center for the Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research. The center will be dedicated to accelerating discoveries that will significantly impact pancreatic cancer, which is on the rise yet remains underfunded compared to other disease sites. One of the deadliest types of cancer, there are some 43,000 cases diagnosed each year, 80-85% of which are inoperable.
"It's a revolutionary time to be at MD Anderson if you're a cancer researcher," said Anirban Maitra, co-director and scientific director of the pancreatic research center. "It's an incredible opportunity to build one of the best, well-rounded pancreatic cancer groups in the country, bringing MD Anderson basic scientists, oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists under a single umbrella. Integrated, multidisciplinary research and patient care will allow MD Anderson to become the vanguard place for pancreatic cancer treatment and research."