Miami Cancer Institute: Delivering Economic Growth and Raising Level of Care (VIDEO)

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October 12, 2016

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(VIDEO: Michael J. Zinner, M.D., founding chief executive officer and medical director of Miami Cancer Institute, talks about it’s economic impact and the cutting-edge cancer treatments it will provide to the community and the region.)

As Miami Cancer Institute takes final shape and prepares to open at the beginning of 2017, its economic impact on the local community is already making strides.

“We’re going to have 1200 employees at the cancer center, and 200 medical professionals – doctors and advanced practiced nurses,” said Michael J. Zinner, M.D., founding chief executive officer and executive medical director of Miami Cancer Institute, during his presentation at the recent Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Trustee Luncheon. “That adds to the Baptist [number] of 16,000 employees in South Florida.”

Comprehensive Cancer Treatment Center

With its close proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America, Miami Cancer Institute plans to draw a substantial number of international patients from these regions, Dr. Zinner said. About 1.2 percent of Baptist Health’s annual patient population already travel to Miami from those countries and other international destinations, according to a Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) report.

Medical tourism in Florida generates about $6 billion in charges each year, according to the AHCA study.

Dr. Zinner, a Miami Native who previously served as clinical director at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and surgeon-in-chief at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, looks forward to Miami Cancer Institute being “a very special place.” As a renowned cancer surgeon and researcher, he treated several patients in Boston who traveled there from Miami for cancer treatment. Now with Miami Cancer Institute, patients won’t have to leave South Florida for outstanding care, he says.

Miami Cancer Institute will be a “hybrid” center, combining the resources and care of a community hospital with an academic setting.

“We are creating a destination cancer center that will offer a full range of services with all of the latest equipment and top-notch doctors and researchers under one roof,” Dr. Zinner said “We want to rival similar institutions like those in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.”

An alliance with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will make all types of clinical trials available to physicians and clinicians at Miami Cancer Institute. Patients will have the potential to see their medical oncologists, radiation oncologists,  surgeons and possibly even plastic surgeons all in one setting.

Proton Therapy

One of the Institute’s highlights that Dr. Zinner spoke about is “Pete” – a 220-ton proton therapy cyclotron. By delivering a pencil-thin beam of radiation to a patient’s tumor, proton therapy represents the most precise form of radiation treatment available today. Its precision means surrounding healthy tissue is largely spared from the typical damage often associated with radiation treatment.

Proton therapy is particularly effective in treating childhood cancers and adult cancers of the brain, liver and lung, as well as certain left-sided breast cancers and prostate cancers.

Scheduled to be up and running in summer 2017, the proton therapy center at Miami Cancer Institute will be the first of its kind in South Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America. It will be powered up within the next month and take 8-9 months to calibrate, according to Dr. Zinner.

Rounding out the treatments available at Miami Cancer Institute will be integrative therapies, nutrition counseling and mind-body approaches to healing, to name a few.

“Almost everyone knows someone touched by cancer,” Dr. Zinner said. “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 lasts for decades after his or her diagnosis,” Dr. Zinner added.

Dr. Zinner’s presentation to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce was part of the Baptist Health South Florida Speaker Series, Thought Leaders in Medicine, made possible through the generosity of Al and Janie Nahmad.

The Baptist Health News Team videotaped Dr. Zinner’s presentation. Watch the excerpts now.

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