May 21, 2004
Contact: Rhoda A. Pickett, Mobile Press Register
Foundation Provides USA with $1.5 Million for Cancer Institute
(Reprinted from Article in Mobile Press Register dated May 21, 2004)
In a move that will enhance the Mobile region’s health care and economy, the University of South Alabama has secured $12 million in state economic development funds toward its Cancer Research Institute.
The state funds come from a pool established in 2000 by a constitutional amendment and earmarked specifically for economic development. The money represents a share of Alabama’s natural gas royalties from Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
USA now has enough money raised to begin the three-story, 102,000-square-foot building on the Cancer Research Institute site near Knollwood Hospital in west Mobile. USA officials expect to break ground on the $30 million project later this year.
USA President Gordon Moulton credited Gov. Bob Riley for helping to secure the funding.
“Securing this economic development funding is an important milestone in the development of the USA Cancer Research Institute. It will enable us to move forward rapidly with our building plans, giving a home to the many scientists and health care professionals who will make up our Cancer Institute,” Moulton said.
“We thank Gov. Riley for his support and his keen understanding of how the USA Cancer Research Institute will improve both the health care and the economic climate in the Mobile region.”
Moulton expects the Institute to create 700 jobs for citizens of all educational levels, with an economic impact of $1 billion expected in the first decade. It will stimulate the growth of a strong regional economy built on biomedicine and biotechnology.
Riley says the Cancer Research Institute is a vital way to secure top-notch health care for residents of the Gulf Coast, as well as provide a stable, vibrant economic-development base for the future.
“We have always had the opinion in Alabama that if you want economic development you have to go out and literally buy it from these foreign countries,” Riley said. “I think what we need to do is make those kind of economic investments in things like the University of South Alabama. It serves the geographic area where you need that kind of research center and treatment center.”
He said Cancer Research Center will create steady, sustainable growth for the Gulf Coast.
“You help the citizens, you have economic development, and you also create a job that is not going to have to compete with Mexico, Honduras and China,” Riley said.
To develop and build the Cancer Research Institute, USA leaders developed a five-year budget of more than $65 million in federal funds, private contracts and grants, tobacco settlement money, patient treatment revenues, state economic development funds, and endowment funds.
The University has hired a team of world-renowned researchers for the project, led by National Cancer Institute veteran Dr. Michael Boyd. Meanwhile, the University has acquired state-of-the-art research and diagnostic equipment to support the Institute’s efforts, including a PET/CT scanner that offers earlier cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The USA Cancer Research Institute is testing new anti-cancer drugs and perfecting established treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy. USA scientists are studying the basic mechanisms and biology of cancer to prevent and better treat the deadly disease. The University aspires to become a National Cancer Institute cancer research center.
Ultimately, the goal is to save lives and improve the quality of life for some 4.5 million people of the upper Gulf Coast who lack nearby access to a comprehensive academic cancer research center, Boyd says.
"The USA Cancer Research Institute presents a remarkable opportunity to bring cutting-edge cancer research and treatment to the people of the upper Gulf Coast, with the additional benefit of enhancing the local economy," Boyd says. "The Cancer Institute will be an important and unique resource for this community and the Gulf Coast region."
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