$10M backs new cancer center
Groundbreaking is due in 2006 near the UH medical school
A new University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center in Kakaako is moving forward with $10 million in federal funding.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Hawaii's other congressional members helped to obtain the funds in legislation signed into law in December 2004.
Groundbreaking is anticipated next year on a 5.5-acre site Ewa of the new John A. Burns Medical School, with completion of construction by the end of 2008.
The total cost of the new cancer center, outpatient clinic and multistory parking building is estimated at roughly $200 million.
Dr. Carl-Wilhelm Vogel, the center's director, said he's excited because receipt of the $10 million "gives real substance to the ongoing planning efforts" to design and develop the new Cancer Research Center of Hawaii.
"These funds also help secure another cornerstone in the overall UH and state plans to develop a biotechnology park in Kakaako in which the Cancer Research Center intends to be a major player," he said.
The UH regents selected developer Townsend Capital LLC of Towson, Md., earlier this year to design, build, finance and manage the center's construction. The developer will put up most of the money for construction under a long-term lease arrangement.
The planners have been meeting with medical centers and others interested in creating a state-of-the-art cancer research facility and outpatient treatment clinic offering comprehensive cancer care to Isle patients.
Vogel has strongly advocated addition of a clinical facility to the research center to offer new therapies and drugs to cancer patients that they can now get only on the mainland.
He has pointed out that cancer is the No. 1 killer of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and cancer patients are expected to increase significantly because of Hawaii's aging population.
ECG Consultants of Seattle is developing a business plan that will include a governance design for the 360,000-square-foot research center.
"The end result will be a cancer center for the state that is truly a community-wide effort," Vogel said. "We are particularly pleased that the new center will provide services to the entire state through satellite facilities on the neighbor islands."
The Cancer Research Center, now at 1236 Lauhala St. next to the Queen's Medical Center, is one of 60 National Cancer Institute-designated centers in the United States.
Its activities span research, education and community outreach. It also operates the Hawaii Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Information Service of Hawaii, Hawaii Tumor Registry and a treatment consultation clinic for patients.
Among major investigations at the center, researchers are looking at possible causes of cancer and reasons for different cancer rates among Hawaii's ethnic groups.
They're conducting research aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of cancer in the Hawaiian population and finding new anti-cancer agents in local plants and marine microorganisms.
For more information about the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, see www.crch.org.