Partnership creates new giant in SA: UT Health San Antonio - MD Anderson Cancer Center

"This is another step to defeat cancer, here and around the world."

That's Dr. Ronald DePinho, talking about a new partnership, a year-and-a-half in the making, which will bring the expertise of the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to San Antonio's Medical Center.

San Antonio’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center, which is part of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, announced Tuesday that it's forming an alliance with another UT system cancer center, MD Anderson in Houston.

The new institution will be known as the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, which will bring tens of millions of dollars of major new investments in cancer care, staff, facilities and research to San Antonio.

UT system Chancellor William McRaven called it:

"Great work on behalf of Dr. Ronald DePinho at MD Anderson and President Bill Henrich here at UT Health Science Center San Antonio because it really does take these two great powerhouses in research and clinical care and bring them together in a way that is going to be great for the people of San Antonio and for South Texas."

The new partnership, which they're also calling an 'affiliation' or a 'collaboration' but not a merger, will mean a new pharmacy, new care teams, new infusion areas and more in San Antonio.

Part of the goal is to keep people from San Antonio and across South Texas from having to travel to Houston anymore to get the best cancer care.

"We're trying our best to make it unnecessary for anyone to have to leave the San Antonio environment and be displaced," said Henrich.

"A few years ago, I had to leave. I went four years ago and had to have therapy and was gone for five and a half months. And I know personally how tough it is to be away from home. I got great care but I was away from home and it wasn't the same as being here. I don't want that for anybody in San Antonio."

Dr. DePinho says this is just the latest partnership for the MD Anderson Cancer Center and it's helping patients and families, by allowing them to stay closer to home, while advancing research by enlarging the populations being studied.

"Cancer is the most complicated disease to diagnose and to treat. It requires the collective forces of a multi-disciplinary team. MD Anderson has pioneered multi-disciplinary care of the patient. So what we've been trying to do for the last several decades is to spread our knowledge. By joining forces with this incredible institution it provides us with an opportunity to learn from each other. This is not just a one way street.

Of course MD Anderson is the number one cancer hospital in the world, with respect to care. It's a powerhouse with respect to science, but what we've learned from our partnerships is that by joining with other institutions we too can learn from them and be much better as a result of those partnerships."

For more on the partnership, click here.

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