Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center opens

Baptist partnering with No. 1 cancer center in the nation


HOUSTON – Doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston are reaching patients in Jacksonville.  It's been happening for many years, but before this month, those patients had to travel 850 miles to Houston.

Many of the center's more than 120,000 patients travel long distances to get access to one of the largest cancer centers in the world, and one with a reputation as the best.  

Before I reached the door of the hospital, I met Doris Jordan. She traveled 800 miles with her husband, a lung cancer survivor.

"It's been a really nice experience they took care of us quickly and easily, This is the best we could find and we feel like they've done a very good job for him," Jordan said.

Ranked as one of the top two hospitals in cancer care by U.S.  News and World Report since the survey started in 1990, its reputation is backed by talent, research and passion. 

The president of MD Anderson Houston talks about their goal.

"Our mission is to end cancer in Texas, in the nation, in the world and we do that through a variety of different strategies that involve patient care, research, education, and also prevention which is very important to end cancer," Dr. Ronald DePinho said.

DePinho has been president of MD Anderson Houston for four years. He said Baptist was an obvious choice to bring on as a partner.

"Baptist is one of the great systems in the United States. I consistently rates among the top in the nation.  It's ranked very highly," DePhino said.

This partnership is more than just a name change. Amy Hay, vice president of business development, explained.

"Each patient that walks in the Baptist MD Anderson Center will be given the exact detail and forward thinking that we have here in Houston. That's everything from the provider, to the support staff, to the technology. Each patient should have access to the research programs that we provide here in Houston and ultimately to every aspect of patient care," Hay said.

UNCUT Melanie Lawson's interview with Amy Hay

MD Anderson offers hope for many patients who were told they were out of options. Much of that hope is developed in one of the thousands of laboratories. 

One example a husband and wife team who have come up with a way to kill brain cancer with a single shot of cold virus. This type of access to clinical trials is a big patient benefit of this partnership.

"We have many other options and that's with the clinical trials. We have new standards of care that we're developing with, MD Anderson's clinical trials. The engine is so significant that we lead the trials for one and three FDA approvals in the efforts to fight cancer," Dephino said.

The cancer fighting gene is in the air at this 4.1 million-square-foot facility and the 21,000 employees share that mission.  If you ask almost anyone in the building if cancer can be eradicated, they seem to believe anything is possible within these walls, and now, beyond.    

"I think that cancer will eventually become a disease that we can manage and that we can treat.  I think there will be cancers that we can eradicate but I do think that the focus needs to be on cancer education and prevention because the one thing we do know is that if we can stop someone from ever getting cancer that is a worthy goal," Hay said.

Baptist MD Anderson is open and treating patients. It's in the same location as their cancer center in San Marco.  They've hired new doctors, trained current doctors who wanted to stay, and they will consult with doctors in Houston to make sure local patients get the best treatment available. 

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