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Carolinas HealthCare System’s (CHS) Levine Cancer Institute today announced the opening of its research and administrative headquarters on the campus of CHS’s Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. By integrating and building upon CHS’s network of elite cancer programs and centers, the Institute is able to provide its more than 11,000 new cancer patients annually with greater access to specialists, treatment, clinical trials and support services closer to where they live.
While the institute will function as a series of integrated cancer programs distributing high-quality cancer care system-wide, this building will serve as its hub for communication, research and administration. It will house the technology infrastructure to more seamlessly connect physicians and care teams and share best practices and programs.
“The opening of the building is symbolic of the entire Levine Cancer Institute network being fully functioning, for the advancement of patient care across the Carolinas,” said Institute President Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD. “The new resources and technology this new space affords will enable us to be better connected to our partner institutions across the Carolinas to share knowledge, standard protocols and research, while offering our patients here in Charlotte a state-of-the-art place to receive their cancer care.”
The development of the Institute and the building was made possible by the generous $20 million leadership gift from the Leon Levine Foundation. The building, of which CHS began construction in March 2011, features:
Although Phase I investigation is already being conducted within the system, the development of this specialized unit will bring advances in the study and treatment of cancer therapeutics to patients more quickly.
“We’re extremely grateful to the Levines and other benefactors, CHS, our staff and physicians, and communities across the Carolinas for helping make our vision to bring world-class cancer care closer to home for patients a reality,” said Dr. Raghavan.
To support patients’ and their families’ survivorship journey, the building also includes a rooftop healing garden, gift shop, patient image boutique, patient and family resource center (offered in partnership with the American Cancer Society), and class and consult rooms for art therapy, nutrition and wellness, support groups, and counseling.
“By leveraging cancer expertise and resources from across our system, we are creating a first-of-its-kind decentralized approach to cancer care which removes the barriers that separate patients from access to breakthrough research and treatments,” said Edward Kim, MD, Chair of the Institute’s Department of Solid Tumor Oncology and Investigational Therapeutics, recently recruited to the Institute from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “I am thrilled about the opportunity to implement more novel clinical research trials throughout the system to benefit the people in the Carolinas.”
To date, the Institute has recruited cancer leaders from top-ranked programs across the country. It united more than 30 oncologists already employed throughout CHS, hired two pharmacologists and one biostatistician to expand its basic science capabilities, and hired more than 80 support staff including registrars, social workers, nurses, nurse navigators, survivorship experts and a financial counselor. These experts are developing standard protocols for the treatment of many cancers to accelerate efficient, effective therapy and improve patients’ access to clinical research. The Institute also developed robust patient survivorship support programs like patient navigation, integrative medicine and fertility preservation, and is piloting a broad range of programs aimed at reducing disparities and providing improved access to cancer care.
Edward Copelan, MD, FACP, said, “it was this exciting venture, building a ‘cancer institute without walls’ and developing standard best practices to benefit patient care across the Carolinas, that attracted me to Levine Cancer Institute.” Dr. Copelan began as chair of the Institute’s Department of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders in September 2012 from a leadership role at the Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute.
Earlier this fall, the Institute also announced its charter member institutions, the first group of CHS affiliated hospitals as part of the system’s new cancer care network. Member institutions work together across the network to focus on initiatives like quality of care, technology, clinical trials, data sharing and review, patient navigation, health disparities, and community outreach. The charter member institutions are:
The Institute administrative and research headquarters is located at 1021 Morehead Medical Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28204. For more information, visit www.levinecancerinstitute.org.