MOBILE, Ala. – In a move to achieve its longstanding goal of attaining designation as a comprehensive cancer center by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute (USA MCI), together with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center, today announced that the two centers plan to enter into a consortium partnership.
The USA Board of Trustees approved the partnership in a declaration of intent, endorsed by both universities. Consortium partnership activities will begin immediately as the two institutions forge productive collaborations to advance and accelerate clinical, translational and basic cancer research.
In 1971, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center became one of the first NCI-designated cancer centers in the United States. As one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious centers in the nation, it is currently the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center located in a four-state area that includes Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
The USA MCI was established in 2000 and is the only academic cancer center in south Alabama and the upper Gulf Coast corridor. MCI’s service area consists of an estimated 4.1 million persons residing within a 150-mile radius of Mobile.
According to Michael Boyd, M.D., Ph.D., Abraham A. Mitchell Chair and Director of MCI, “This is a great day for the USA MCI and for the people of Alabama. MCI has always believed in collaboration. A partnership with one of the most respected NCI centers in the United States will accelerate cancer research and enhance treatment options for the citizens of our region.”
Edward Partridge, M.D., director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, said, “This consortium is a win-win for both institutions and for the citizens of Alabama and the entire Gulf Coast region.” He added, “Together, we can provide the most up-to-date treatments and innovative research at an accelerated rate.”
Leaders of both institutions also stressed that while the two cancer centers will collaborate as partners, the institutions are not merging into a single entity. Each will continue to function under separate ownership and maintain separate identities.
NCI has been encouraging the development of consortium centers in recent years in an effort to reach broader populations located in geographic areas not currently served by a NCI-designated center. USA and UAB leaders say, this is one of the key benefits of this partnership.
“Because USA MCI and UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center serve different geographic regions of the state, the two institutions working together will help reduce the significant cancer health disparities in Alabama while improving cancer health outcomes and mortality rates,” Partridge said.
Other significant benefits of the partnership include:
Leaders of both institutions will release more information on the progress of the NCI partnership initiative as it becomes available.
- Expanded cancer research base at each respective institute
- Accelerated recruitment of physicians and physician scientists to MCI
- Accelerated regional and state economic development
- Enhanced access of patients to the latest developments in cancer diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control