Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida announced the beginning of a collaboration aimed at improving patient access to the latest and most effective cancer treatment advances and the highest caliber of cancer care. Leaders from both institutions have confirmed the first step in announcing their agreement for Miami Cancer Institute to join the MSK Cancer Alliance. President / CEO Brian Keeley of Baptist Health of South Florida spoke to the importance of MCIMSK alliance and the new Miami Cancer Institute. The media was given a quick tour of the construction of the Miami Cancer Institute. The region’s largest nonprofit hospital system, Baptist Health South Florida, announced a high-profile partnership Wednesday with the nationally regarded Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for the new 400 million Miami Cancer Institute under construction next to Baptist Hospital Miami in Kendall and scheduled to open later this year.
The alliance with Memorial Sloan Kettering, whose New York City hospital consistently ranks among the nation’s top cancer treatment centers, will give Baptist Health patients access to Sloan Kettering’s clinical trials, said Michael Zinner, a physician and chief executive of Miami Cancer Institute, in a written statement. The enhanced treatments and clinical care we can now offer including standards that align with MSK for surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation therapy will have a near-immediate impact on our patients Zinner said. The Miami Cancer Institute becomes the third regional hospital to join Sloan Kettering’s growing national alliance, which already includes Hartford Healthcare in Connecticut and Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania. The South Florida partnership, however, is not unique among nationally recognized healthcare systems seeking to extend their brand through strategic affiliations that stop short of a merger. Three of the best known hospital systems in the country have launched initiatives to develop national networks of local affiliated hospitals and systems, said Allan Baumgarten.
The local hospital partner is then able to market the national brand to attract more patients who prefer to receive care close to home, Baumgarten notes. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s top cancer treatment center, already has alliances with hospital systems in Orlando and Jacksonville. Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic also has a large cancer treatment presence in Jacksonville. Obviously, people think Florida is fertile ground for high-end cancer treatment Baumgarten said. Yale Cancer Center researchers have identified what causes a third of all myelomas, a type of cancer affecting plasma cells. The findings, published in the Feb. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, could fundamentally change the way this cancer and others are treated. Multiple myeloma is a cancer involving the growth of plasma cells, which are immune cells that make antibodies to fight infection. Uncontrolled growth of these cells leads to anemia, bone pain, kidney problems, Gaucher disease and myeloma.
Despite recent advances, including several new FDA-approved therapies for myeloma, the disease remains incurable, and nearly all patients eventually die from it. The causes of this cancer have remained a mystery until now. Senior author Madhav Dhodapkar, M.D., the Arthur H. and Isabel Bunker Professor of Medicine and Immunobiology, and chief of Hematology, said the study, using tissue and blood samples from humans and mice, shows that chronic stimulation of the immune system by lipids made in the context of inflammation underlies the origins of at least a third of all myeloma cases. Understanding the origin of any cancer has several implications for how to best prevent it Dhodapkar said. These studies set the stage for newer approaches to lower the levels of these lipids in patients with gaucher disease and others with precursors for myeloma. Potentially, this could be achieved with drugs or lifestyle changes to reduce the levels of lipids to lower the risk of cancer.
The West Cancer Center is rolling out a new non-invasive treatment for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), a form of brain cancer. Optune, a device that uses low-intensity electric fields to kill cancer cells, is now available for patients at the West Cancer Center. The Optune technology is reflective of West Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary approach to comprehensive cancer care and is indicative of our commitment to build a world-class Comprehensive Neuro-Oncology Program said Ballo. We truly believe in the basic science behind this and are seeking new opportunities with the company for expanding its use through Phase I through III clinical trials and neurocognitive studies. In addition to the Optune treatment, a new collaboration with Semmes Murphey Clinic will result in the launch of West Cancer Center’s Comprehensive Neuro-Oncology Program. The comprehensive program will be led by West Cancer Center medical oncologist Manjari Pandey; Matthew Ballo, West Cancer Center’s director of radiation oncology and Semmes Murphey neurosurgeons Jeff Sorenson and Madison Michael.