Ohio university to get major expansion cancer program

The Ohio State University Board of Trustees today has authorized the preparation of architectural and engineering plans for a possible major expansion of the university’s cancer program.

“This is a necessary and exciting step for the Ohio State University Medical Center, including the Comprehensive Cancer Center and The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute,” says Dr. Fred Sanfilippo, senior vice president and executive dean for health sciences at Ohio State, dean of Ohio State’s College of Medicine and Public Health and CEO of OSU Medical Center. “The program must expand to meet the needs of our patients, students and faculty and will further elevate its stature as a national leader in research-driven patient care.”

Based on the anticipated needs of the cancer program, the expansion is expected to cost $350 million to $400 million and as it is completed may double the capacity of The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. An exact location for the expansion has not been determined.

Because the cancer program is a university-wide program that includes more than 200 faculty from 13 of OSU’s 19 colleges, the expansion will benefit the university as a whole.

“The proposed expansion will provide additional research and educational opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university, as well as the Medical Center,” says Ohio State University President Karen Holbrook. “It also supports the university’s goal of being recognized among the top research and medical centers in the country.”

The need for expansion will become acute for The James, where demand for care continues to grow. It is expected that by 2050 there will be a 142 percent increase in total cancer cases in the United States. This growth is mainly due to the aging of the American population and the fact that cancer is a disease of the elderly; cancer incidence in people age 65 and older is 10 times greater than it is in people under age 65. New cancer cases among Ohioans age 65 and older are projected to increase 50 percent by 2030.

“We must begin preparing now for this profusion of mature Americans,” says Dr. David E. Schuller, executive director, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. “This expansion is necessary if we are to continue providing the people of Ohio and beyond with superb cancer care distinguished by high quality laboratory and clinical research which produces expanded and unique diagnostic, preventive and treatment options.”

Likewise, the research component of the cancer program must also expand to assure the most advanced care possible.

“There is no such thing as the status quo when building a world-class cancer program,” says Dr. Michael A. Caligiuri, director of the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We must continue to invest in our cancer program if we are to attract the best doctors, researchers and students.”

The expansion also is needed because OSU’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute is nearing capacity for treating both inpatients and outpatients. From 2001 through the end of this year, the number of patient days at The James is expected to grow by 26 percent, and the number of outpatients is expected to increase by 27 percent.

The expansion also will support OSU’s Academic Plan. The plan calls for the program to become a world leader in biomedical research through the recruitment of nationally and internationally renowned cancer researchers.

The proposed cancer expansion will be financed by The James cash reserves, by university bonding repaid by The James revenue and by philanthropy.

Because the increase in demand for patient services will grow with time, the construction of new inpatient, outpatient and research facilities will occur in a fiscally responsible way, in phases, as demand dictates.

“This expansion,” Sanfilippo says, “will be of enormous benefit to a great number of people, to include economic value to our community and the entire state. This isn’t just a necessary investment for Ohio; it’s a smart one.”

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