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Moffitt planning $800 million expansion


The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center is planning an $800 million to fund a downtown expansion in response to a need for additional research areas and clinic rooms.

Moffitt is proposing a 10-year plan to raise $500 million. The rest of the funding is expected to come from a state grant supported by the $1.33 cigarette tax placed on each pack by the state.

The $800 million expansion project will include two laboratory research buildings, a clinical support building, an additional hospital wing and an outpatient facility.

In recent years, the research center has been vital in advancements in treating melanoma and studying immunotherapy, according to CEO Dr. Alan List.

A year ago, the center expanded to include the McKinley Outpatient Center. Since the center’s opening, the clientele has increased over 12 percent, according to List.

Last year, Moffitt saw 56,000 patients — highlighting a need for more room to house the growing number of patients.

According to the director of Moffitt Research Institute Thomas Sellers, successful laboratory research is a key contributor to the need for the expansion, which would allow for further studies into specific areas such as immunotherapy.

“Clinical trials are in progress at Moffitt — the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to start approving some of the new technology in the immunotherapy laboratory,” said Sellers.

This practice is aimed to use the patient’s immune system to fight cancer by using stimulants, either made by the body or man-made, to revitalize functionality. 

“In the lab, we’ve made promising progress so far. We need to be able to translate this potential to the best interest of our patients,” Sellers said.

This strategic therapy is expected to be approved by the FDA in 2017, according to List.

The urgent need for additional research space is for rigorous peer review, according to Sellers.

A agreement with USF will allow for The Eye Institute faculty to relocate to Morsani, while the Research Center and laboratory space is under construction.

This will also allow for an inclusive space of USF researchers who are doing cancer research in order to support collaborate under the same building, according to Sellers.  

A child care center is anticipated to open by January 2018 on the McKinley campus.

In 2017, the clinical support building will be the first phase of construction. It is anticipated to house faculty offices as well as research laboratories and additional patient beds to the existing 206. It is expected to be finished by mid-to-late summer 2018.