Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center preview set for March 22 in Gilbert - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center preview set for March 22 in Gilbert

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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 6:30 am

The Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert has scheduled a preview of its multi-million-dollar expansion to occur a little more than a week before the facility opens for business.

The free event, set for March 22 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., will give attendees a peek into what the expanded center will offer once it opens on April 1. On the slate for the preview event includes a cancer presentation from medical experts about genetic testing and various forms of cancer, tours of the facility’s new spaces, and refreshments in the center’s healing garden.

What visitors will see, in essence, is the culmination of a $62 million project that broke ground in January 2013 and expands the facility by 103,000 square feet, said Banner Gateway and Banner MD Anderson CEO Todd Werner. He added the total square footage comes just short of doubling the space Banner MD Anderson had before the addition.

The $62 million invested in the facility will give the hospital 60 total clinic rooms, up the number of linear accelerators, which are used for radiation treatment, by three and will bring in 13 infusion bays.

Werner said both the expansion in physical space and in equipment allows the hospital to maintain pace with an increase in patients since it first opened in 2011.

“We’ve been seeing year-over-year increase depending on the modality,” he said.

The increase in customers is tied to an increase in the state’s and region’s population, especially among an older subgroup. The increase in treatments offered at the new center could assist the older population in receiving treatment, as Werner said members of that group sometimes have a more difficult time traveling to locations too far away from their home.

Much of the growth has occurred in the East Valley in recent years, but Werner said the expansion is meant to deal with an influx in patients from the greater Valley region, the state and even nationally. Of the latter most, Werner said the center serves patients who live in at least 48 of the country’s 50 states.

Beyond the ability to serve more patients is the addition of more options for those patients, as the addition features programs devoted to stem cell treatment and cancer prevention. The latter is tied to the James M. Cox Foundation Center for Cancer Prevention and Integrative Oncology that Werner said will offer services not provided in the original building.

Werner said cancer research is a significant portion of what the center will offer, but the facility will emphasize a holistic approach to prevention that includes genetic testing, massage therapy, diet and even acupuncture.

“We’re really most excited about the impact that will have,” he said.

A whole new addition for the Banner MD Anderson facility is Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy program. Werner, who emphasized the program uses adult stem cells and not embryonic cells, said the treatment involves working with a patient’s own stem cells as part of treatment, which is followed by a second phase in which cells from another person are integrated into a patient’s body.

Werner described the treatment as impactful therapy and an area in which Banner MD Anderson can be “curative.”

“They are not removed from cancer treatment; they are front and center,” he said.

Banner MD Anderson is located at 2946 E. Banner Gateway Drive. More information is available at www.BannerMDAnderson.com/events.

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