PITTSBURGH, September 22, 1999 — Officials from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) today broke ground for the Hillman Cancer Center , a large-scale, comprehensive cancer research and treatment facility that will be located on the UPMC Shadyside campus.
"This is an historic day for University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as it embarks on building a first-class center for our internationally recognized work in the field of cancer," said Jeffrey Romoff, president of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "UPCI is the undisputed regional leader in all aspects of cancer research and patient care. Through this endeavor, UPCI can expand and enhance its programs and, in doing so, stimulate the regional biotech industry.
We are grateful to Henry L. Hillman and the Hillman foundations for their generous support in helping us realize this goal," added Mr. Romoff.
"This groundbreaking is a special occasion for Elsie and me, especially in view of the fact that our families have been associated with Shadyside Hospital for 100 years. The new cancer center will provide a much-deserved designated home for UPCI, which in association with UPMC Shadyside, will not only centralize and expand cancer research, but will further increase the quality of patient care for the citizens of southwestern Pennsylvania," said Henry L. Hillman.
The 301,000 square-foot Hillman Cancer Center, slated for completion in the first part of 2002, will feature a Laboratory Pavilion devoted to basic research in cancer and an Ambulatory Pavilion dedicated to providing a wide range of cancer-related services, including treatment, prevention and early detection, screening, genetic counseling, nutritional counseling, behavioral medicine and grief counseling. The center will integrate full-time faculty with community network oncologists.
"For more than a decade, the Commonwealth has seen UPCI generate outstanding research findings that have improved many patient lives and which continue to enrich the economic vitality of western Pennsylvania," remarked the Honorable Tom Ridge, governor of Pennsylvania. "This new facility holds a lot of promise for Pittsburgh and for our Commonwealth. It will create high-paying, family-sustaining jobs and help generate the kind of biotechnology investment that will allow Pennsylvania to compete and win in the 21st century economy. But most importantly, the Hillman Cancer Center will provide hope for people and families who need it."
Currently, six area companies have ties to UPCI cancer research. Each year, UPCI investigators file approximately 25 cancer-related invention disclosures and spin out one or two cancer-related companies.
"The Hillman Cancer Center marks a significant investment in Pittsburgh and promises an increase in professional, high-paying jobs in our area. The growth of UPCI’s activities will attract some of the brightest and best individuals to this city, as well as help retain talented, Pittsburgh-educated scientists by providing them unparalleled career opportunities," commented Tom Murphy, mayor of Pittsburgh.
UPCI anticipates recruiting more than 250 scientists, clinicians and other health care workers once the Hillman Cancer Center is completed. Over the next 10 years, hundreds of jobs are expected to open with the establishment of UPCI-related startup companies. In the immediate future, the Center will create approximately 350 construction-related jobs each year over nearly three years.
"Through the Hillman Cancer Center, UPCI will achieve a close integration of research and clinical activities. For the public and the international scientific community, this free-standing facility will symbolize the finest in cancer research and patient care. UPCI is a recipient of more than $93 million in research funding from the National Cancer Institute and other sources and was recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as 11th nationwide in cancer care excellence," commented Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., director of UPCI, Hillman Professor of Oncology and associate vice chancellor for research, health sciences, University of Pittsburgh.
The Hillman Cancer Center will provide optimal opportunities to translate research findings into new patient therapies. Clinical and research programs at the center will focus on molecular and cellular oncology; cancer epidemiology, prevention and control; leukemia, lymphoma and bone marrow transplantation; prostate and urologic cancers; malignant brain tumors; head and neck cancer; colorectal cancer; and lung cancer. These programs will interface extensively with other UPCI emphases in biological therapeutics, oncology informatics and drug discovery.
"It’s extremely important to recognize that the Hillman Cancer Center will offer the latest therapies in a setting patients can easily navigate and where they can see all the specialists necessary to treat their condition under one roof. This setting also allows patients to receive treatments on an outpatient basis, which helps them maintain an active lifestyle," added Dr. Herberman.
The Hillman Cancer Center will feature convenient underground valet parking for all visitors and patients, with elevator access to the Ambulatory Pavilion. The Ambulatory and Laboratory Pavilions will be connected by a large, five-story atrium, with a ground-floor garden, a wall of remembrance and recognition and a meditation area. Patients and visitors can easily cross Centre Avenue to UPCI inpatient units at UPMC Shadyside via a pedestrian bridge.
"The Hillman Cancer Center will be a tangible representation of the ongoing relationship the Hillmans have maintained with UPMC Shadyside and UPCI," reflected William Cooper, M.D., J.D., M.A.C.P., attending physician in hematology-oncology at UPMC Shadyside, distinguished professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, chairman of the Shadyside Hospital Foundation and a long-time friend of the Hillman family.
Entering its 15th year, UPCI is renowned for its cancer research. In particular, UPCI is known for its pioneering development of biological therapies, gene therapies and cancer vaccines and its basic research findings in cancer immunology and on biological markers related to disease initiation, progression and response to therapy. Currently, more than 600 scientists and health care professionals from 30 disciplines collaborate to improve the understanding of cancer and to develop new lifesaving approaches in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. UPCI disseminates this knowledge rapidly to regional and national health care providers and to the general public.