Services for cancer patients are currently scattered at six sites across the Yale-New Haven Medical Center, but that will change by 2008 with the planned opening of a new hospital facility that will offer all cancer services under one roof and significantly enhance the medical school’s ability to conduct clinical research.

At a press conference on November 30, Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) President and CEO Joseph A. Zaccagnino, M.P.H. ’70, announced that YNHH would add a 497,000-square-foot north pavilion to the YNHH complex that will house a comprehensive clinical cancer center. The plan will add 112 inpatient hospital beds and an estimated 400 permanent jobs.

The proposed $430 million center is a 14-story facility with space for operating rooms; infusion suites; radiation treatment rooms; adult inpatient facilities for surgical, medical and gynecologic oncology; and an outpatient women’s cancer center. It will be connected to the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital by way of a five-story bridge across the upper floors, so that pediatric patients will be able to receive treatment at the new center while remaining hospitalized in the children’s facility.

“I cannot overstate our level of enthusiasm and excitement about this project,” Dean Robert J. Alpern, M.D., said at the press conference, attended by city officials, patients, employees and community, hospital and medical school leaders. “Now that we’ve seen the drawings, we’re impatiently ready to move into the building. We’re going to have to control ourselves.” Yale Cancer Center Director Richard Edelson, M.D. ’70, called the move “a huge step forward.”

Alpern and Yale President Richard C. Levin both stressed the opportunities the new center opens up for conducting additional clinical trials, which are a source of promising new treatments for patients and an important revenue stream for academic medical centers. Levin noted that Yale is already one of the top biomedical research institutions in the world and does excellent cancer research in the laboratory.

“With expanded capabilities to treat cancer patients and to do research on the efficacy of new therapies, we can do much more,” Levin said. “We can establish ourselves as one of the world’s great centers for the treatment of cancer.”

The new center will be built on existing hospital property at the site of the Grace Building on Park Street, a former nursing hall now given over to offices, which is slated for demolition this spring. The hospital’s board of trustees approved plans for the center in November, following state approval of the preliminary site plan last July. Pending approval of the plans by the city and state, groundbreaking is expected in the fall.