5 Questions with Miami Cancer Institute's Michael J. Zinner, M.D.

As Miami Cancer Institute opens the doors to its stunning new facility, the Baptist Health South Florida News Team had a chance to sit down with Michael J. Zinner, M.D., founding CEO and executive medical director of Miami Cancer Institute, for this candid Q&A session.

What should people know about Miami Cancer Institute?

I like to explain this using two terms, Miami Cancer Institute is high-tech and high-touch. While it is a destination cancer center that offers a full range of services, with all of the latest equipment and top-notch doctors and researchers under one roof, we are also committed to offering personalized, patient- and family-centered care from diagnosis through survivorship. Almost everyone knows someone touched by cancer. At Miami Cancer Institute, we are optimistic about changing the paradigm of cancer from being an acute illness to a chronic one in which the patient lives for decades after his or her diagnosis. And now, patients in Miami have the opportunity to be treated where they live.

How will Miami Cancer Institute change the face of cancer care in the region?

Miami has long been known as a tourist destination, but I think Miami Cancer Institute and Baptist Health will become a destination cancer center known for its leading clinical care, exceptional patient experience, advanced clinical research and state-of-the-art technology. Medical tourism from Latin America, the Caribbean and all over the world will now have Miami Cancer Institute to come to, not only for its beautiful physical environment, but also because we’re going to have world-class care. We believe in this so much that we just broke ground on our campus for a 184-room Hilton Hotel and conference center. It’s literally feet away from Miami Cancer Institute.

Why is proton therapy such an integral part of Miami Cancer Institute?

Proton therapy is a centerpiece of the high-tech aspects at Miami Cancer Institute. It’s the latest form of radiation therapy that’s highly precise and very effective in treating specific types of solid tumors. Currently, the three most important areas that proton therapy is being used for treatment are brain tumors like those at the base of the skull; spine tumors because of their unique location; and certain cancers in children. Proton therapy reduces collateral damage because the surrounding tissue is not injured during radiation.

What can you tell us about Miami Cancer Institute being a part the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance?

This is another one of our high-tech components. We literally have telephone books worth of checklists to ensure that our standards of care are the same as those of MSK, and that our resources are comparable to their resources. When I say that we are going to provide the same level of care here that you would get in Manhattan, I mean it. And that includes things like clinical trials that would be available to patients in New York, will be available to patients in Miami. Precision medicine that could be available to patients in New York is available here. The MSK Cancer Alliance a true and honest relationship built around standards of care and comparability. Our doctors are going to New York. MSK is sending their doctors here, and we have regular meetings about each specific disease, such as lung, colon and uterine cancer. Our doctors are in constant communication with each other.

What makes Miami Cancer Institute so unique?

It will be the only facility in North America, and maybe even the world, that has all of the latest technology and most advanced radiation therapy equipment under one roof. Many other places have parts of this, or some of it, but not all of it. It will bring together all facets of cancer care in one building. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy infusion are going to be together, in one location, in a large outpatient facility that’s connected by a covered walkway to Baptist Hospital.

Watch the video below as Dr. Zinner explains how the Institute is changing the future of cancer care in South Florida and beyond.

Video by Steve Pipho

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