PORTLAND, OregonThe US Department of Veterans Affairs has
opened its new $30 million Northwest Veterans Affairs Cancer Research
Center. The Center will house joint research projects of both the
Portland VA Medical Center and the
Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). Its primary focus will be
the genetic basis and the biologic pathways of cancer.
The center will significantly enhance the VAs efforts to
find the causes, treatments, and cures for the cancers that affect
our nations veterans and Americans in general, VA Under
Secretary for Health Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH, said at the
dedication ceremony on June 24, 1999. Former US Senator Mark O.
Hatfield, a long-term supporter of national research initiatives,
also spoke at the opening.
The new cancer center is directed by Grover Bagby, MD, chief of
hematology and oncology at the Portland VA Medical Center. Dr. Bagby
is also professor and chair of hematology and oncology at Oregon
Health Sciences University.
Two New Structures
The research center is comprised of two new structures, buildings 103
and 104, on the main campus of the Portland VA Medical Center. The
Center was funded and built by the US Department of Veterans Affairs
and is a collaborative research effort between the VA and the Oregon
Health Sciences University. Through its partnership with OHSU, the
facility will add research space to the Oregon Cancer Center, itself
a collaborative effort of the major health care organizations in Oregon.
150 Research Staff Members
The new VA Cancer Center, which will accommodate an estimated 150
research staff members, occupies 96,000 square feet. It includes 37
investigator offices/dry labs, 29 wet labs, 17 tissue and culture
labs, and 38 examination rooms.
An example of the type of work being done at the new center is
research by David Lieberman, MD, of risk factors and screening tools
for colon cancers. In a nationwide VA study of people with no
symptoms, Dr. Lieberman and his colleagues found that, in some cases,
colonoscopy detected colon cancer or abnormal tissue that would have
been missed by sigmoidoscopy.