After 10 years of planning, the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center will open its spacious new wing to patients on Sept. 24.
The 46,000-square-foot expansion is designed to meet increased demand and to promote integration of the center's cancer care and research programs, in part by bringing all of its patients and cancer care providers under the same roof. The entire cancer center now comprises 110,000 square feet and provides care for an estimated 10,000 adult and pediatric patients.
"As the nation's 41st comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute, we have an obligation -- not only to our patients, but also to our Cancer Care Network sites at four community hospitals -- to reduce the burden of cancer," said cancer center director Ralph de Vere White. "We believe that this expansion will help us do that, as it enables streamlined operations, improved patient access to clinical trials and enhanced collaboration among our clinical and basic research faculty. That, in turn, will translate to better cancer care and outcomes for the entire Sacramento region."
An important feature of the expansion is the space it has created for pediatric cancer patients to be seen in the main cancer center. Because of space limitations, childhood cancer patients had been seen in another building several blocks away on the Sacramento campus. The new cancer center building has an entire floor dedicated to pediatrics, with five examination rooms and 13 infusion chairs for chemotherapy treatment, including two isolation rooms for patients who require or desire privacy. Childhood cancer patients also will have their own indoor play area.
Locating the pediatric clinics together with the adult cancer clinics improves continuity of care for adolescent and young adult patients who often face special challenges as they mature. "Co-location" also will foster more collaboration among pediatric and adult cancer researchers and specialists, who work in teams to meet the needs of individual cancer patients and develop treatment plans to address the unique characteristics of their disease. In addition, a new late-effects clinic will be launched to help young adult survivors deal with long-term side effects from childhood cancers.
The second and third floors of the cancer center expansion are for adult patient care and include a 31-chair infusion center and 16 exam rooms. Prior to the expansion, space constraints required that many adult cancer patients had to be seen about a mile away at UC Davis' Bulkley Building clinic on Alhambra Boulevard. Patients now seen at the Bulkley clinic will transfer their care to the new cancer center building on Oct. 29.
Other specialized clinics in development at the cancer center will provide psychiatric care, palliative care and chronic pain management. The expansion also provides additional space in the infusion center for Phase 1 clinical trials, in which novel therapies are tested in a small group of people as a first step to evaluate their safety and potential therapeutic benefit.
"A key focus of the cancer center is to support a robust clinical research program and the development of new drugs generated in our basic research labs that show promise for improving patient outcomes," said Jeanine Stiles, the center's chief administrative officer. "Since our designation as a cancer center by the National Cancer Institute in 2002, space constraints have limited our clinical research capabilities. The expansion changes that."
The expansion, which is linked to the original building by a second-floor enclosed bridge, also will include a resource center and pharmacy. The radiation oncology clinic will remain on the ground floor of the original cancer center building.
The expanded center, at an estimated cost of $33 million, was funded with $10 million from the health system and by philanthropic donations, including a $5 million contribution from the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation and many other gifts, large and small. Fund-raising efforts are ongoing.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 9,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.