Introducing the $125M Memorial Cancer Institute: A Beacon of Hope in the Fight Against Cancer
November 06, 2023
Today marks a significant milestone in the fight against cancer as Memorial Healthcare System proudly announces the completion of its newest center, Memorial Cancer Institute on the campus of Memorial Hospital West. A beacon of hope for those living with the disease and featuring cutting-edge technology, comprehensive services, and a commitment to patient and family-centered care, the $125 million investment stands as a testament to Memorial’s dedication to advancing cancer care in South Florida.
Meredith Feinberg, vice president of cancer services at Memorial Healthcare System, remarked: “Our newest Memorial Cancer Institute center represents our longstanding commitment to advanced cancer care in our community. This is a place where innovative treatment options and compassion come together to combat one of the greatest challenges of our time. Our mission is to provide expert care, full range of support services and navigation, and advanced clinical trials in the fight against cancer, offering options to cancer patients and their families while advancing medical knowledge.”
In 2018, Memorial purchased the Petco and Toys “R” Us site with a commitment to expand cancer services. On Nov. 8, with construction on the new facility recently completed, Memorial Cancer Institute will hold its grand opening ceremonies. Patients will begin to receive care in the new space in mid-January 2024. Additionally, Memorial continues to offer advanced cancer care throughout its health system including Memorial Cancer Institute sites at Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital Miramar and Hallandale Beach.
A team of more than 250 expert cancer physicians and surgeons, experienced oncology nurses, pharmacists, lab staff, clinical trialists, administrative and support staff work together to ensure personalized treatment plans for each patient, including the latest screening and diagnostic testing, advanced radiation treatments, chemotherapy and cellular therapies, surgical options, and integrative medicine.
Patient and Family-Centered Design
Located in the heart of Pembroke Pines, near the intersection of Pines Boulevard and Flamingo Road on the campus of Memorial Hospital West, the new four-story, 125,000 square-foot Memorial Cancer Institute prioritizes patient comfort and well-being. It increases care space with 63 exam rooms (up from 29) for multi-disciplinary cancer consultations and 51 private infusion suites (from 38) for administering medications intravenously. Featuring a dedicated breast cancer center designed with input from cancer survivors, the private infusion suites are located with windows that provide natural light and overlook scenes of nature and green spaces.
Moffitt Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy at Memorial is also housed at the new cancer institute, along with opportunities for serene spaces and an overall soothing environment that includes a rooftop garden, a meditation sanctuary, and a spa-like environment at the Center for Body, Mind, and Spirit.
Cutting Edge Technology
Memorial offers advanced radiation treatment technology, ensuring both precision and effectiveness in cancer care, including:
- CyberKnife® S7: A cutting-edge robotic system that delivers precise stereotactic radiation to various areas of the body, such as the brain and lungs, without the need for surgery. Its exceptional accuracy adapts to patient movements in real-time, ensuring optimal outcomes.
- Halcyon™ Radiation Therapy System: Rapidly produces high-quality images to precisely locate tumors. This technology expedites radiation treatments up to four times faster than conventional methods, so patients spend less time in treatment, significantly improving their experience.
- Varian TrueBeam®: An advanced radiotherapy, with intelligent features that synchronize radiation delivery with a patient's breathing called respiratory gating. This is particularly important in treating breast and lung cancers, preserving healthy tissues from unnecessary radiation exposure.
- Elekta Flexitron system: An innovative approach to delivering high-dose radiation brachytherapy. This system directly targets tumors while safeguarding surrounding healthy tissues.
Memorial has also expanded its oncology infusion pharmacy, which is of paramount importance in delivering comprehensive, safe, and effective cancer treatments. The cleanroom suite meets the highest US Pharmacopeia standards. The result is optimal precision and safety in every sterile preparation, ensuring comprehensive and effective cancer care.
“Our vision is for our community to have access to the most advanced cancer care close to home,” said Luis E. Raez, MD, chief scientific officer and medical director, Memorial Cancer Institute. “Memorial is committed to staying at the forefront of medical advancements through its extensive network of cancer experts and strategic partnerships with Moffitt and Florida Atlantic University that share this vision.”
Strategic partnerships with high-performing institutions connect skills and resources to enhance services. In the new facility, Moffitt is significantly expanding its patient treatment capacity and, through a research alliance with FAU, Memorial Cancer Institute is among a select group of Florida-designated Cancer Centers of Excellence, conducting leading-edge clinical research and pioneering advances in patient care.
Clinical Trials and Research
With new, expanded clinical research protocols, Memorial is committed to increasing access to breakthrough clinical trials, developing novel treatments, and focusing on untapped areas of research. One recent example involves the use of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell therapy (CAR-T) immunotherapy in the battle against solid tumor cancers of the head and neck, lungs, and skin. For those whose cancer has been resistant to traditional chemotherapy or metastasized in other parts of their body, CAR-T offers renewed hope for patients with solid tumors, given its success in treating certain blood cancers. At Memorial Cancer Institute, a multi-disciplinary team will harvest white blood T-cells so they can be genetically altered to produce synthetic molecules called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). The hope is the CARs will enable the T cells to recognize and attach to a certain protein in cancer cells and kill them, halting or curing the disease.
By addressing not only the physical aspects of cancer but also the emotional and logistical aspects, oncology support services contribute to improving the overall quality of life for individuals and their loved ones.
“This facility will help us offer our community care that is second to none,” said Leah Carpenter, chief operating officer at Memorial Healthcare System. “Memorial saved my sister’s life (after she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma), and I’m pretty sure if she had her care anywhere else, that might not have been the case.”
The facility has a new Patient and Family Resource Center, where patients will learn about a wide range of support, from emotional and psychological counseling to practical aid such as nutritional guidance and pain management. These services aim to enhance the well-being of both cancer patients and their families, helping them navigate the complex journey of cancer treatment and recovery. Through support groups, palliative care, survivorship programs, patient and family navigation, social work, spiritual care, and many other resources, oncology support services foster a holistic approach to patient care. “It’s such a blessing to be part of this beautiful institution and know confidently that other families are going to be able to express the same gratitude (that we did) to the team that provides care here,” added Carpenter.
Community Support through Memorial Foundation
In addition to the financial support from Memorial Healthcare System, the Memorial Foundation and its generous donors continue to back the Memorial Cancer Institute. The Foundation’s allocations cover facility and equipment enhancements, oncology support services for families in need, medical education programs and cancer research initiatives. Notable funding highlights include the acquisition of the Monarch Robotic Assisted Bronchoscopy, breast cancer diagnostic testing, emergency assistance and fitness programs for patients, as well as wigs, lymphedema sleeves, prosthesis, and scarves for breast cancer patients.
- $125,000,000 – cost of new facility
- 125,000 – square footage (four stories with capability of vertical and horizontal growth)
- 290 – number of parking spaces
- 250 – number of on-site cancer experts and health professionals
- 80 – height of building in feet
- 63 – exam rooms
- 51 – infusion bay suites with a view
- LEED Certified
- Main exterior materials: Pre-cast, glass, concrete, and metal