Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upmc Planning $200 Million Center for Cancer Research

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upmc Planning $200 Million Center for Cancer Research

Article excerpt

After a six-year delay, UPMC is ready to build a sprawling research center that aims to change the way medicine is used in the fight against cancer and other serious diseases.

The center, which will be housed in a historic, 350,000-square-foot building at Baum Boulevard and Morewood Avenue near UPMC Shadyside Hospital, includes a $200 million commitment by the Pittsburgh health care giant, according to two people familiar with the plans but not authorized to speak publicly about them.

The complex eventually will include an additional several story building nearby, one of the two people said. A UPMC spokeswoman said Tuesday that she could not confirm plans for the site.

UPMC's longstanding mantra has been to commercialize its research and business practices, such as bulk purchasing of hospital supplies. The new center would continue that push with a small business incubator, where scientists and entrepreneurs could commercialize research in spinout companies, giving a lift to Pittsburgh's biotech community and the city's economy.

UPMC's latest plans come during a year of unprecedented growth for the health system - Pennsylvania's largest employer, with nearly 80,000 employees. It affiliated with a dozen Pennsylvania hospitals in 2017 and explored the possibility of building a hospital south of Pittsburgh in Jefferson Hills.

UPMC, formed in 1990, operates 39 hospitals and a health insurance arm with 3.2 million members.

Robert Ferris, a 15-year veteran of UPMC, will oversee the new immunology transplantation therapeutic center, the two people said. Dr. Ferris was named director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in June and his research focuses on immunotherapy to treat head and neck tumors.

"Dr. Ferris is a nationally known lead in cancer immunology and will expertly serve UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania community as we continue to advance the future of cancer care," Steven Shapiro, UPMC's chief medical and scientific officer, said in June when Dr. Ferris was named director of the cancer center.

At the new immunology center, UPMC, a leader in organ transplants and cancer care, will harness the body's immune system in attacking both cancer and organ rejection in treatments intended to cause fewer side effects than current therapies. …

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