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December 11, 2000

Winship a partner in new cancer coalition

By Sylvia Wrobel

In the war against cancer, Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes has launched a major new offensive, and Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute—the coordinating center of clinical treatment programs and research throughout the University and Emory Healthcare—will be partnered with the state’s three other medical schools in helping lead the charge.

Standing in the rotunda of the State Capitol Nov. 29, flanked by white-coated doctors and nurses from all four medical schools, Barnes told a crowd of cancer survivors, healthcare workers, elected officials and others that it was time for Georgia to join those leading the fight to save lives from

He announced the establishment of the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCA), a public-private partnership that will bring together the state’s leading hospitals and universities, biotech firms, civic groups and nonprofit and government agencies to help treat, prevent and save lives from cancer. The coalition’s slogan, the governor said, will be “Mobilizing Georgia. Immobilizing Cancer.”

Its goals, Barnes said, will be to prevent cancer and detect existing cancers earlier through education and screening, improve access to quality care for all Georgians by establishing a statewide treatment network, train top-notch cancer researchers and caregivers, help the state economically by bringing pharmaceutical and research jobs to Georgia and by keeping patients here; and, most importantly, save more lives in the future by bringing the best doctors, treatment methods and technology to the state.

“Emory is pleased to be a partner in this effort, and we will do everything we can to help make it strong.” said Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs. Johns praised the governor’s vision and team-building strengths, calling the coalition “the largest, most comprehensive effort to fight cancer in the nation.”

Winship Director Jonathan Simons said, “This is a national first. This plan is the boldest, most aggressive and comprehensive public-private partnership assault on the cancer problem in the United States. It will save lives now and save many more lives later, using discoveries made in our state.”

According to Barnes, the coalition’s first priority will be to enhance treatment and screening in Georgia, starting with the areas of highest incidence and including public education and awareness.

An extensive treatment network, anchored by three yet unnamed cancer centers of excellence, will be expanded through hospital treatment centers, in coordination with private physicians throughout the state, so that every Georgian will have access to cutting-edge care.

Another priority is to bring 150 top clinicians and scientists to Georgia to work at the state’s medical centers, coordinating research and developing new treatment methods and technologies.
Barnes said he would ask the state Legislature to contribute $300 million to $400 million, primarily from tobacco settlement money, over the next five to seven years to what he believed should be an $800 million initiative.

But the state would not be expected to do it alone, he added. The GCA must be a partnership of foundations, pharmaceutical and biotechnological firms and corporations.

These fundraising efforts should help the state leverage success to receive a bigger piece of the federal funds designated for cancer treatment and research.

Simons said this partnership comes as Winship is taking important new steps in its longstanding fight against cancer, especially as it affects Georgians. Established in 1937 with funds from Coca-Cola magnate and philanthropist Robert Woodruff, the Winship Memorial Clinic was created as one of the first clinics in the nation devoted entirely to the care of patients with cancer.

Since the Winship Cancer Institute was formed in 1985, it has served as the coordinating center for an array of Emory resources in medical, surgical and radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging and the subspecialties of cancer care.

The institute offers new therapies usually not available outside university-affiliated medical centers, including more than 200 clinical trials for all tumor types and stages of cancer.

Winship’s strength in cancer genomics research enables it to treat each patient’s cancer differently.
Scientists are increasingly able to identify individual genes that make cancers arise and spread; learning why some people develop cancer, why some cancers are more virulent and aggressive than others, and why some tumors respond differently to different treatment is pointing the way to new means of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

On the site of the former Uppergate Pavilion off of Clifton Road, Emory is now developing a new, $68 million, 200,000-square-foot facility to house both research and clinical cancer services and expand existing Emory space allocated to cancer. The building is scheduled for completion in January 2002.


Back to Emory Report Dec. 11, 2000