Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal joined Augusta University President Dr. Brooks A. Keel and other state and local leaders today to cut the ribbon on the M. Bert Storey Research Building at Augusta University’s Georgia Cancer Center. The building’s most dramatic feature, the three-story bridge connecting the university’s dedicated cancer research space with the clinical activities at the Cancer Center’s outpatient clinic, is representative of Augusta University’s commitment to provide a discovery-to-treatment environment that gives cancer patients access to the latest treatments, therapies and first-in-the-nation clinical trials.
“Research at the Georgia Cancer Center continues to focus on the most promising pathways for the prevention and treatment of cancer,” Keel said. “The project’s design will provide quality research space to promote multidisciplinary collaborations and translational research, which is essential to creating an environment that promotes innovation.”
While the existing building has been standing since 2006, it now bears the name of M. Bert Storey. Storey, a philanthropist and real estate developer, died earlier this year. He received the President’s Award from Keel in October 2016 for his transformational gifts to Augusta University.
“We could not ask for a greater namesake for cancer research than M. Bert Storey,” Keel said. “His legacy will continue to live on in the many patients who find hope in the groundbreaking research and innovative treatments made possible by his sacrifice.”
The $62.5 million expansion, which adds approximately 72,000 square feet of new lab and office space and approximately 6,000 square feet of renovated space, will help move the center toward National Cancer Institute designation by ensuring every patient has access to the nation’s newest and most innovative clinical trials, Keel said.
“We thank Mr. Storey, his family and our community and state for supporting this transformation of the research facilities of the Georgia Cancer Center,” said Dr. David C. Hess, dean of the Medical College of Georgia. “We believe the M. Bert Storey Research Building that stands today reflects the common ground of patients and their families and the investigators who seek better prevention of and treatments for the second leading cause of death in our state and nation.”
The state of Georgia is providing $50 million in bond funding, and Augusta University secured the remaining $12.5 million for the construction and renovation of the existing cancer research building.
The Georgia Cancer Center houses a dedicated cancer clinical research unit that oversees the center’s own Phase I-IV trials and helps manage cancer-related studies throughout AU Health. It also manages Georgia’s only minority-focused research program (NCORP).
The center serves as a statewide repository for samples collected from 14 participating sites throughout the state of Georgia as part of the Bio-Repository Alliance of Georgia for Oncology (BRAG-Onc). Also included in the expanded research building is a multipurpose room enabling the Georgia Cancer Center to host community events, educational conferences and other events that will help make Augusta a national destination for discussions about groundbreaking cancer research and its impact on patients.
In Fiscal Year 2017, 63,434 patients visited the Georgia Cancer Center. Nine service lines — blood/hematologic cancer; brain cancer/neuro-oncology; breast cancer; gastrointestinal cancer; prostate/genitourinary cancer; gynecologic cancer; head & neck cancer; lung/thoracic cancer; and pediatric cancer — provide patients and families with advanced treatment options and informed care, performed by internationally renowned clinicians, compassionate nurses and informed staff covering all aspects of a cancer patient’s journey.