Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Health

Moffitt Cancer Center plans $800 million expansion

TAMPA — The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center is moving forward with an ambitious $800-million expansion that will include a new hospital wing, two research buildings, a clinical support building and additional outpatient facilities, CEO Dr. Alan List told the Tampa Bay Times Thursday.

The growth is being driven largely by key scientific breakthroughs made on the Tampa campus, List said. In particular, researchers have had success with experimental "immunotherapy" treatments, which harness the body's own immune system to fight the cancer.

If the treatments win FDA approval in 2017, as is expected, Moffitt would be among the first cancer centers in the country to offer them, said center director Dr. Thomas Sellers.

"We need to prepare," he said.

The entire expansion is expected to take 10 years. Moffitt leaders plan to raise $500 million and hope to finance the rest with a bond bankrolled by state cigarette taxes.

The first step, scheduled to begin in 2017, will be the construction of the clinical support building to house faculty offices and laboratories, List said. The expected cost is between $38 million and $40 million.

The new space will allow the 206-bed cancer center to add beds — something that will be necessary if Moffitt moves forward with the immunotherapy treatments, List said.

There are several types of immunotherapy. One type, which is in clinical trials at Moffitt, involves a clinician removing some of the patient's immune cells, training those cells to recognize and fight the cancer, and then returning them to the body. The treatment cannot be done in an outpatient setting; patients run the risk of having a toxic response and must spend several weeks in the hospital.

Sellers called the data from the clinical trials "remarkable."

"This new cutting-edge therapy is working for patients for whom all other existing therapies have not worked," he said.

To accommodate what will likely be "huge demand," List hopes to add at least 10 hospital beds in the next few years. He hopes to add another 10 over the next decade.

The new wing would come near the tail end of the expansion plan. "We do know we are going to need additional hospital expansion on the campus," List said.

That isn't the cancer center's only need.

Moffitt also is running out of outpatient space, List said. It opened a new outpatient center at 10920 N McKinley Drive just last year. But already the building is almost entirely filled, List said.

Most of the 56,000 patients who received treatment last year were seen in outpatient facilities.

The expansion plans seek to further Moffitt's dual mission of treating patients and advancing research. It comes amid a push to hire 750 new faculty members for the clinical and research operations.

Both have earned national recognition.

Earlier this year, U.S. News and World Report named Moffitt the sixth-best cancer hospital in the nation.

Additionally, Moffitt recently had its "Comprehensive Cancer Center" designation renewed by the National Cancer Institute. Only 47 cancer centers in the United States hold the title, which honors institutions for their scientific leadership.

"We can do things that other cancer centers can't do," Sellers said. "We feel it is a responsibility at Moffitt to accelerate this pace of discovery."

Contact Kathleen McGrory at [email protected] or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

Comments
Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

In most places across America, nursing homes are facing an acute shortage of workers to take care of the country’s growing population of aging and disabled patients. But not in Florida. A Kaiser Family Foundation report published this month found tha...
Published: 07/17/18
So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

TAMPA — Dr. Murray Shames holds a flexible, lightweight tube as wide as two garden hoses pushed together in his office at Tampa General Hospital. The polyester tube, and its thinner fastening branches with metal wiring, will be attached inside someon...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/16/18
Sunday Conversation: Sherry Hoback looks to move Tampa Family Health Centers to the next level

Sunday Conversation: Sherry Hoback looks to move Tampa Family Health Centers to the next level

TAMPA — Taking over for an administrator who has run a company for almost 20 years can be daunting. • But Sherry Hoback prepared for some time to replace Charles Bottoms as CEO of the Tampa Family Health Centers, a non-profit organization that operat...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/15/18
How can City Hall improve our health? A new push in Pinellas hopes to show the way.

How can City Hall improve our health? A new push in Pinellas hopes to show the way.

The charitable organization that owns a 20 percent stake in St. Petersburg’s Bayfront Health hospital is working with local governments to improve the public’s health, part of a strategy to make a difference in new and often subtle ways. The Foundati...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
New York organ collection agency, nation’s second-largest, threatened with closure

New York organ collection agency, nation’s second-largest, threatened with closure

The government is threatening to close one of the country’s largest "organ procurement organizations" for poor performance, a rare move against a nonprofit group that collects kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs used in transplantation.In a lett...
Published: 07/11/18
Retirement communities turn their sights on a once-invisible group: LGBT seniors

Retirement communities turn their sights on a once-invisible group: LGBT seniors

In 2016, as Kenneth MacLean was about to turn 90 and was looking to move to a retirement community, he had a question for Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland."I asked, ‘Would there be many gays here? Would gays be welcomed?’ " MacLean,...
Published: 07/09/18
The other victims: First responders to horrific events often suffer in solitude

The other victims: First responders to horrific events often suffer in solitude

The day a gunman fired into a crowd of 22,000 people at the country music festival in Las Vegas, hospital nursing supervisor Antoinette Mullan was focused on one thing: saving lives.She recalls dead bodies on gurneys across the triage floor, a trauma...
Published: 07/09/18
Put your best feet forward with this health, footwear and beauty advice

Put your best feet forward with this health, footwear and beauty advice

All of a sudden, it’s hot and sunny everywhere — summer, officially — and even the shiest, palest, most woebegone toes are peeking out from their hiding places up North. They’ve been scrubbed and buffed, their nails clipped and polished. And they’re...
Published: 07/06/18
Research points to another exercise perk: mood improvement

Research points to another exercise perk: mood improvement

By Gabriella Boston Special to the Washington Post Do you go for a run to clear your head? Do you walk with friends to decompress, lift weights or do yoga to de-stress? In short, do you exercise to improve your mood? If so, you are on the right tr...
Published: 07/06/18
Mayo Clinic Q&A: tinnitus causes, treatments; liquid biopsies

Mayo Clinic Q&A: tinnitus causes, treatments; liquid biopsies

TAMP DOWN TROUBLING TINNITUS SENSATIONWhat causes tinnitus, and is there anything that can be done to get rid of it?Tinnitus, the sensation of hearing a sound when no external sound is present, often is described as a ringing, buzzing, roaring, click...
Published: 07/06/18