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April 3, 2014 Volume 35, No. 25

Ellis Fischel joins leading national network on cancer

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“We’re in high cotton,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin tells the gathering of physicians and media at the March 21 announcement of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center’s new affiliation with MD Anderson Cancer Network. “[This affiliation] will take us a long way in terms of winning the war on cancer for the people of Missouri, the U.S. and the world.” Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Ellis Fischel Cancer Center picked up a major seal of approval March 21 from MD Anderson Cancer Network, a program of the nation’s leading cancer center.

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced in the Ellis Fischel Brown Family Healing Garden that the cancer center has joined MD Anderson Cancer Network, a program of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

U.S. News and World Report has ranked MD Anderson as the No. 1 cancer hospital in its “Best Hospitals” survey for seven years running.

The affiliation with MD Anderson Network means Ellis Fischel medical teams will have direct access to MD Anderson’s clinical experts, treatment regimens, quality protocols, best practices, and education and training programs.

“The experts at MD Anderson see a huge volume of [cancer] patients [1.3 million outpatient visits, treatments and procedures in fiscal 2013], so … the opportunity for us to pick up the phone and talk with them and consult with them will be invaluable to us and to our patients,” said Dr. Paul Dale, medical director, chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Margaret Proctor Mulligan Distinguished Faculty Scholar in Breast Cancer Research at Ellis Fischel.

“Our patients are at the heart and core of what we do,” he added. With this affiliation, “we are thrilled to be able to make their lives better.”

Opened in 1940, Ellis Fischel was the first cancer hospital west of the Mississippi River. It is also the first academic health center to join MD Anderson Cancer Network as a certified member, a point Dr. Thomas Burke, executive vice president of the network, emphasized. “We see relationships branching out beyond just the patient care side into research collaborations,” he said.

Burke said MD Anderson already has a contract to bring nanoparticles produced at Mizzou back to Houston.

Leadership from both Ellis Fischel and MD Anderson Cancer Network spoke about the benefits of a team approach to cancer care and how membership in MD Anderson Cancer Network expands that team. 

“My family has been touched by cancer a lot,” said Dr. Bill Murphy, Distinguished Chair in Diagnostic Imaging at MD Anderson and board chairman of MD Anderson Physicians Network. “It causes a very strong … desire and commitment to spread what we can do as far and as wide as we can. This relationship is key in our so doing.”

— Erik Potter