UW News

October 27, 1997

Hutchinson Center, University of Washington, and Children’s Hospital forming new alliance in the fight against cancer

Seattle-based world leaders in the fight against cancer today announced that they are forming a new, combined clinical cancer program.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington (UW), and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center are creating the new program, called the “Cancer Care Alliance,” to speed the development of new knowledge of, and treatment for, various cancers.

In addition to providing state-of-the-art cancer care, the Alliance will organize a regional network to speed the sharing of treatment protocols and other new information that could improve the ability of physicans and hospitals to diagnose and treat cancer patients.

The program will unite the cancer-care components of the three institutions, and significantly extend their strengths. All share a long and successful history of collaboration in cancer clinical services to support their respective missions in clinical research, training and patient care.

Subject to final approval by governing boards of each institution before year’s end, the new, not-for-profit Alliance will be officially incorporated this January as the first-ever integrated ambulatory and inpatient cancer program for the three institutions.

“This will be a powerful alliance, one that may well turn out to be a model for other parts of the country,” said National Cancer Institute Director Richard Klausner, a leading proponent of highly integrated clinical cancer research systems.

“Overall, this initiative will combine and greatly magnify the already enormous capabilities of three of the Northwest’s most renowned cancer clinical institutions,” said Dr. Fred Appelbaum, who is director-designate and a member of the Alliance’s interim board. “Basically, we believe we can accomplish significantly more by closer collaboration and program integration–the sum will be greater than the parts.”

Appelbaum, who also is director of the Hutchinson Center Division of Clinical Research and a UW professor of medicine, added that another significant benefit expected to come from the Alliance is more efficient pooling of administrative costs now borne by each institution separately, contributing to cost-effective care.

“This is one of the most far-reaching developments in the history of the UW medical school since inception of our regionalized program of medical education more than 25 years ago,” said Dr. Paul G. Ramsey, UW vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UW medical school. “When the Alliance becomes fully operational in 2001, people from throughout the Northwest and elsewhere will benefit from a far more integrated, comprehensive cancer clinical system than has ever existed here before. The Alliance will support the clinical research, training and patient care missions of the three outstanding non-profit institutions that are responsible for establishing this model system.”

“Through the fully integrated, team approach to cancer the Alliance plans to take, Children’s Hospital will be better positioned than ever to reduce the suffering of young cancer patients in our region,” said Dr. Bruder Stapleton, pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s and professor of pediatrics at the UW medical school. He also is a member of the Alliance interim board.

A new, 130,000 square-foot outpatient clinic is planned as a central feature of the Alliance. It will serve as the “front door” for collective integrated programs of the Alliance, and will provide a series of multidisciplinary clinic settings for patient diagnosis and treatment planning, as well as ambulatory clinics for bone marrow transplant patients. Plans call for constructing the facility, whose estimated $50 million cost will be shared by Alliance members, on the Hutchinson Center campus at southeast Lake Union in Seattle. The facility will be completed in early 2001.

When the Alliance is fully implemented, adult inpatients of the Alliance will receive care at the UW Medical Center, one of two comprehensive teaching hospitals owned or managed by the UW. All pediatric Alliance inpatients will receive care at Children’s Hospital