By Wendy Sarubbi | September 14, 2018 3:05 pm


UCF’s recent purchase of the Sanford Burnham Prebys facility gives us the opportunity to create a cancer center that is rare – and serves our combined missions of medical education, research and patient care.

Most cancer centers have professionals who diagnose and provide care to cancer patients. And when patients don’t respond to established therapies, the professionals enroll them in clinical trials of new treatments. That’s clinical research. Our center will do both of those things. But what will set us apart from most other cancer centers is that we will include basic scientists in the same building…on the same team.

Basic scientists are the Ph.D.’s who find new molecules and cells that fight cancer. They work at the bench. They examine our genes. They isolate immune cells that kill cancer. But at most cancer centers and universities, these scientists are in a lab separate from the hospital and clinic. They work in isolation and rarely interact with physicians who treat cancer patients.

Our cancer center will be different.

We’ll have an entire floor of basic scientists — in the same building with physicians and other clinical providers. They’ll meet, brainstorm, share ideas. A physician could tell a basic scientist, “I have seen something different in my last six prostate cancer patients who are all resistant to therapy.” The basic scientist can say, “I have an idea – a new cell line that may explain it.” You know what can happen from that interaction: a new, innovative discovery.

In the area of patient care, our center will be a one-stop location for cancer patients and their families. They won’t have to travel across town for care. If they need hospitalization, they just go next door to our UCF hospital.

This center — coupled with our new hospital – also will be a learning environments for Academic Health Sciences Center programs. Imagine a place where students and faculty can identify the best physical therapy solutions that ease pain for cancer patients. Imagine the population health studies that can be done here on how different populations respond to cancer treatments and why. Imagine a place where medical and nursing students train together to develop better team-based care for patients fighting cancer.

We have much to do to get this cancer center started. We’re currently identifying private partners with nationally reputations for cancer care to join us. The rent they pay will offset UCF’s mortgage payments for the Sanford Burnham building. And their expertise will help serve our university and our community. I hope you are as excited as I am about the prospects. Stay tuned! Deb

Post Tags

Related Stories