October 29, 2012

Cancer research and education agreement announced between Baptist Memorial Health Care and Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center (Neil Brake/Vanderbilt) Executives with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation in Memphis, Tenn., and Vanderbilt University Medical Center today announced an academic affiliation agreement — paving the way for new clinical research and academic education opportunities that are designed to enhance cancer programs.

The new affiliation establishes a framework for collaborative oncology initiatives between Baptist Cancer Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). Baptist cancer patients will have increased access to VICC clinical research trials and genetic diagnostic tools. Many of these services will be available in local communities through Baptist’s 14-hospital system across Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

VICC is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of just two centers in Tennessee and 41 in the country to earn this highest distinction. VICC is also a nationally-recognized leader in personalized cancer medicine.

“What this means to Mid-South residents is enhanced access to specialized research and genomic medicine,” said Jason Little, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Baptist. “This relationship will allow us to bring a whole new level of cancer research to Memphis and the surrounding area. We will be working with Vanderbilt-Ingram to develop more personalized cancer programs based on patients’ genetic makeup, which is the future of cancer therapy.”

“Our affiliation with Baptist Memorial Health Care creates an outstanding opportunity for Vanderbilt to closely collaborate with the highly-skilled, highly-dedicated clinicians and researchers with Baptist Medical Group,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., Deputy Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System.

The goal of the academic affiliation is to enhance cancer care throughout the region served by BMHCC and to advance VICC’s mission to prevent more cancers whenever possible and move research discoveries and new treatments to individuals with cancer much more quickly.

Specific goals of the academic affiliation include:

  • Joint clinical trials
  • Sharing of clinical pathways
  • Sharing of cancer tissue to help advance personalized, genomic-based therapy
  • Jointly held disease-specific conferences for physicians and staff
  • Research-based fellowship training programs in oncology subspecialties
  • Joint public education programs in cancer prevention, treatment and control
  • BMHCC’s participation in National Comprehensive Cancer Network activities as a VICC sub-site
  • Partnership in grant applications for cancer research funding

Baptist and VUMC will continue to maintain additional relationships with other health care institutions throughout the region.

During the past year, Baptist Medical Group has expanded its cancer services, adding nearly 30 oncologists, a breast surgeon and two Harvard-trained thoracic surgeons.

“Our mission at VICC is to share our research discoveries for the benefit of cancer patients everywhere and this relationship with Baptist Cancer Center is an example of our commitment to physicians and patients throughout the region,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Director of VICC.

One of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the United States, Baptist Memorial Health Care offers a full continuum of care to communities throughout the Mid-South. The Baptist system, which consistently ranks among the top integrated health care networks in the nation, comprises 14 affiliate hospitals in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas; more than 4,000 affiliated physicians; Baptist Medical Group, a multispecialty physician group with more than 300 physicians; home, hospice and psychiatric care; minor medical centers and clinics; a network of surgery, rehabilitation and other outpatient centers; and an education system highlighted by the Baptist College of Health Sciences. Baptist has more than 2,300 licensed beds system-wide, employs more than 13,000 people and has approximately 85,000 admissions annually. In 2011, Baptist provided $169 million in community benefit throughout the Mid-South.

With nearly 300 faculty members, VICC generates more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 cancer centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees approximately 6,000 new cancer patients each year. VICC collaborates with 21 of the world’s leading centers in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere.