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UA, St. Joseph’s break ground on cancer clinic in downtown Phoenix

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PHOENIX – The University of Arizona Cancer Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center broke ground Thursday on a $100 million outpatient cancer treatment clinic downtown.

“This building is a location, a location for groundbreaking research and treatment of cancer for the citizens of Arizona,” UA President Ann Weaver Hart said. “This is a place where patients can come have access to the best new treatments available in our country and around the world.”

The facility will offer treatment including radiation oncology and diagnostic imaging.

The 220,000-square-foot clinic is set to open in 2015 at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which includes medical programs from UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said the clinic will boost the economy and offer high-paying jobs in a growing field.

“Without a doubt, our investment and employment on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus has been enormously beneficial to creating the kind of 21st century economy that Phoenix needs for our citizens, our region and our entire state,” he said.

Hart said that while the economic impact of the facility is obvious there will be other more important benefits.

“The economic impact, however, for me today is so much less important than the incredible partnership between a great academic institution … and a great clinical partner,” Hart said. “Without those incredible clinical partners, so much of what we do would never see the light of day, and we are so pleased and so honored.”

Linda Hunt, president and CEO of Dignity Health Arizona, the parent organization of St. Joseph’s, said the collaboration will take both partners to “new heights” in cancer treatment.

“Both of us, the UofA and Dignity Health-St. Joe’s, have an incredible reputation for excellence, and we attract medical talent, research talent and some of the best caregivers that I think there is, not only in this state but really in this world,” Hunt said.

For Dr. David Alberts, director of the UA Cancer Center, the facility is a 23-year dream in the making. Alberts said he lost his grandparents and mother to cancer.

“Cancer is a devastatingly personal disease that literally spares no family,” Alberts said.

The UA Cancer Center, the only comprehensive cancer center based in Arizona, is one of 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

“Today the cancer center begins to fulfill its promise to the state of Arizona … that we would be the cancer center for the state of Arizona,” Alberts said.