New Frontiers in Cancer Research

November 25, 1992

Maryland, the state that suffers more cancer deaths than any other, has good reason to welcome the construction of a Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. The center, to be built on the original site of the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic, will bring together all the departments involved in treating patients with cancer, including surgical specialties as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

That in itself would bring care for cancer patients to a new level. What makes the center truly innovative, however, is the plan to bring patient services together under one roof with the cutting-edge research that has earned Hopkins a spot as one of the facilities designated by the National Institutes of Health as a regional cancer center.

Since 1976, when Hopkins opened its three-story Oncology Center, the number of new cancer patients coming to the hospital has more than tripled. Its 84 beds and outpatient clinics are routinely filled, and the outlook is for even more pressure on the facilities. This year, 21,600 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Maryland, a figure which justifies the state's commitment of $30.5 million in capital funds toward the center's $120 million cost.

The new center comes at a time when cancer research stands on the verge of exciting changes, and scientists at Hopkins are helping to pioneer some of these advances. At Hopkins and elsewhere, researchers are beginning to unravel the genetic changes that occur before cancer begins. With new drugs, they are learning to insert healthy genes that could prevent the disease from taking hold. This kind of research could revolutionize cancer treatment in the next 10 years.

The state is also contributing funds for new facilities at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The Homer Gudelsky Tower, now under construction at the northwest corner of Greene and Lombard streets, will house the University of Maryland Cancer Center.

Together with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland give the state three major centers for cancer treatment and research. That's a big piece of good news amid statistics that can only be described as grim.

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