BATON ROUGE, La. -- In Louisiana, 23 people die every day of cancer. That's 30 percent higher than the national average.
Now the brightest business and science minds are working to change that, and cancer patients in southeast Louisiana will have new opportunities for the latest treatments.
It started as a mission in 2002. Wednesday it came to fruition. Public officials and university and medical schoolleaders officially opened the Louisiana Cancer Research Center on Tulane Avenue with the cutting of a blue ribbon.
The Louisiana Research Cancer Consortium's mission of educating and doing research in the diagnosis, detection and treatment of cancer now has a 10-story center. Inside, a new open way of making discoveries. Lab walls are gone. Investigators now constantly sharing findings.
There's been several of our investigators who have come from elsewhere and they've said this is like paradise for us to work. We have so many samples to work with. Our patients love what we do with them and they really like the collaborative environment," said Dr. Augusto Ochoa, director of the Scott Cancer Center at LSU Health Sciences Center.
With the research teams came millions in grant research dollars.
"Today we have over 90 researchers working in this building, 25 staff and have over $30 million in federal funding for research just in this building alone," said Dr. Larry Hollier, LSUHSC chancellor and chairman of the Board of LCRC.
It's a collaboration originally among Tulane and LSU Health Sciences Centers, and more recently Xavier and Ochsner have joined in. There's also another important partner, the people here with cancer.
In the next few years, as researchers make discoveries, they'll need to be testing and clinical trials with people. You'll be able to sign up for those clinical trials and be a part of the latest cancer findings.
"Louisiana has the highest mortality rate from cancer, I believe, than any other state in the nation. We go where the hardest problem is because we have the highest responsibility, what needs to be fixed and to light the way for the rest of the nation," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu from the podium.
And now the brightest minds are working to do something about it.
"This building is an example of how we can do it together," said Dr. Norman Francis, Xavier University President.
Right now LSUHSC, Tulane and Ochsner are all currently doing research trials at their own facilities. To find out if you qualify for any of those studies or to be in a database you can get general information:
504-842-0111 and online at Ochsner.org