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.