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Sunday, September 26, 2021

UC Davis Cancer Center opens new building

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center opened its new wing on Sept. 24 after 10 years of planning and construction. The new building was needed to accommodate the increased demand for patient care and research programs at the center.

The center is the only center of its type serving the people in Central Valley and inland Northern California. It cost approximately $33 million and was funded by the health system and philanthropic donations.

“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 Ralph de Vere White, director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a press release.

The 46,000 square-foot expansion has made the Cancer Center total 110,000 square feet. Now, it can accommodate about 10,000 adult and pediatric patients.  According to a press release, the expansion will help provide a variety of new services and improve existing services.

A major feature of the new building is that there is now space for pediatric cancer patients to be seen in the main cancer center. Until now, children were seen in a building away from the main center. However, the new building has an entire floor dedicated to pediatric care, with new examination rooms and infusion chairs for chemotherapy treatment.

Placing the pediatric wing in the same location as the adult care will build more collaboration between adult and child cancer doctors and researchers. Another important addition is a late-effects clinic, which will help young adults who are dealing with long-term side effects from childhood cancers.

“Children with cancer often experience late effects – both physical and psycho-social – from their disease and treatments,” de Vere White said in an email. “With these patients now under the same roof as adults, their care can be seamless as they grow into adolescence and young adulthood. In addition, our pediatric and adult cancer specialists will be better able to coordinate clinical research of new approaches to cancer, which will speed the delivery of leading-edge treatments to all of our patients.”

The new building also has two more floors dedicated to adult cancer patient care. Patients that had to be seen at other clinics will be transferred to the new building starting Oct. 22.

“With all of our patients and faculty located in the same building, clinical research and patient care will be better coordinated and more efficient,” said Dr. Richard Bold, surgical oncology chief for the center. “We also now have the space and resources to develop new programs to help patients.”

Psychiatric care, palliative care and chronic pain management are among the clinics based in the new building. It also has a resource center and pharmacy.

“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, in a press release. “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 new building is connected to the original by an enclosed bridge on the second floor, so the new services will be fully included in the center’s operations.

“We believe that this expansion enables streamlined operations, improved patient access to clinical trials and enhanced collaboration among our clinical and basic research faculty,” de Vere White said. “That, in turn, will translate to better cancer care and outcomes for the entire Sacramento region.”

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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