Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida Joins Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance

Miami, FL,

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida announce the beginning of a dynamic and forward-thinking collaboration aimed at improving patient access to the latest and most effective cancer treatment advances and the highest caliber of cancer care. Leaders from both institutions have confirmed the first step in announcing their recently signed agreement for Miami Cancer Institute to join the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance.

The MSK Cancer Alliance is a unique partnership between MSK and community oncology providers that aims to bring the most current knowledge and advanced cancer care into the community setting.

“For more than a century, Memorial Sloan Kettering has been delivering exceptional, patient-focused cancer care and has generated the scientific discoveries necessary to further develop effective new treatments,” said Craig B. Thompson, MD, President and CEO of MSK. “Today, we recognize the need to do more. Central to our mission is eradicating cancer, and through the MSK Cancer Alliance — and in collaboration with Miami Cancer Institute — we have a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and best practices with a wider patient population.”

“Memorial Sloan Kettering chose Miami Cancer Institute for its commitment to delivering to our community the highest levels of innovation and precision in cancer care in combination with the renowned focus on patient experience for which Baptist Health is well-known,” said Brian E. Keeley, President and CEO of Baptist Health South Florida. “Our collaboration with MSK will save lives by bringing evidence-based, world-class standards to our network of seven hospitals and more than 50 outpatient facilities, serving thousands of patients in our community each year.”

Michael J. Zinner, MD, Founding CEO and Executive Medical Director of Miami Cancer Institute, noted that membership in the MSK Cancer Alliance provides patients with access to benefits in the short- and long-term.

“The enhanced treatments and clinical care we can now offer — including standards that align with MSK for surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy — will have a near-immediate impact on our patients,” remarked Zinner. “In the near future, Miami Cancer Institute will provide access to cutting-edge research, including MSK’s world-renowned clinical trials and protocols and breakthroughs in promising new fields, such as molecular oncology. Our collaboration with some of the most preeminent cancer specialists in the world, all working together to develop the best care plans for each patient, establishes Miami Cancer Institute as the area’s preeminent hybrid academic-community cancer center.”

Alliance Fulfills Vital Needs in Cancer Care Delivery

MSK’s desire to create and grow the MSK Cancer Alliance was fueled in part by an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that described the many challenges of delivering high-quality cancer care as a “national crisis.” As advances in cancer science are happening at an ever-increasing rate, there is a realization that the adoption of lifesaving breakthroughs in clinical practice takes enormous resources and often too much time. Unfortunately, this is particularly the case in the community setting, where the majority of cancer care today — more than 80 percent — is being delivered in the United States. Furthermore, the IOM report noted that by 2030, new diagnoses are expected to reach 2.3 million a year as the country’s population ages, and that there are simply not enough oncology specialists to care for patients. Additionally, doctors often experience difficulty keeping up with today’s complex new treatments, resulting in cancer treatment decisions not based on the best and most current evidence available.

“We believe the highest-quality cancer care cannot be achieved by adhering to practice recommendations alone,” said José Baselga, MD, PhD, Physician-in-Chief of MSK. “We must find innovative ways to share knowledge and to integrate cancer care advances into the community setting. This new partnership between MSK Cancer Alliance and Miami Cancer Institute will allow us to do that for patients in South Florida.”

Looking Ahead

Today marks the first phase of the collaboration between Miami Cancer Institute and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance. Over the next few months, MSK will collaboratively guide Miami Cancer Institute toward strengthening its patient care and clinical cancer research programs. Teams of physicians and other healthcare providers from both institutions will work diligently side by side for hundreds of hours to ensure that resources, capabilities, and standards of care are in line with the highest and most recent standards of the MSK Cancer Alliance. Once this first phase is complete, Miami Cancer Institute is expected to become an official member of the MSK Cancer Alliance over the next year.

As a member, Miami Cancer Institute will share educational resources with MSK, including opportunities for its physicians to visit MSK’s Manhattan facilities to observe new techniques, and it will begin the process of putting into place the infrastructure necessary to measure outcomes data. Such unprecedented levels of knowledge sharing — multiplying each time a member joins the MSK Cancer Alliance — will foster the rapid application of the latest and most-effective cancer treatments in community settings.

“We are excited to work alongside MSK and the other members of the Alliance to continually advance our understanding of cancer research and treatment,” said Wayne Brackin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Baptist Health South Florida. “Miami Cancer Institute is extremely well-positioned to redefine the standards of excellence in cancer care available to our South Florida community and regional neighbors in Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond.”

Sharing a Deep Expertise

While this intensive review period occurs, some Miami Cancer Institute physicians will also have the opportunity to meet with and discuss their more complex cancer cases with MSK physicians, who have experience in treating different forms of cancers and related blood disorders, including cancers that are simply not often seen in a community setting.

“One of MSK’s many strengths is our experts’ deep expertise and specialization in treating more than 130,000 patients each year,” said Dr. Baselga. “This experience means that we have knowledge that typically can take years to become the standard of care elsewhere. We want to close this knowledge gap and partner with Miami Cancer Institute to bring the latest cancer treatments to patients in the Miami community.”

“In forming this partnership, we were attracted by the quality of cancer care provided by Miami Cancer Institute and its ability to attract top-notch faculty from across the country,” said Richard R. Barakat, MD, Deputy Physician-in-Chief, Regional Care Network and MSK Cancer Alliance. “In addition, the spectacular new 395,000-square-foot Miami Cancer Institute facility will enable all cancer care across their organization to be integrated into a single state-of-the-art setting.”

Expanding Access to Clinical Research Trials

Central to the MSK Cancer Alliance is creating a strong foundation and system for the expansion of clinical trials and being able to provide Miami Cancer Institute patients with the opportunity to participate in clinical trials not previously available. Clinical trials are the pathway to new treatment discoveries, and through the MSK Cancer Alliance, cancer patients in the Miami area will have expanded access to leading-edge treatments under development.

Membership in the MSK Cancer Alliance is also a meaningful designation, one that demonstrates a desire on both parties’ behalf to participate in bidirectional learning and that makes education a priority for its communities. As the Alliance continues to grow, educational programs and opportunities for the general public and professional audiences will be made available on-site at Miami Cancer Institute.

“Miami Cancer Institute looks forward to working with MSK in the coming months to further develop the scientific aspects of our cancer program,” said Miguel Villalona-Calero, MD, Deputy Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Miami Cancer Institute. “Through thoughtful collaboration, we will help educate our community on the tremendous impact that accessing clinical trials of this magnitude stands to achieve, while simultaneously bringing awareness to our translational research and genomic medicine capabilities.”

“The scientific possibilities of the Alliance are a tremendous complement to the precision care that will be offered by Miami Cancer Institute’s proton therapy center, opening in 2017,” said Minesh Mehta, MD, Deputy Director and Chief of Radiation Oncology at Miami Cancer Institute. “The center is the first and only of its kind in South Florida and one of a few in the United States to offer a sophisticated treatment that targets cancer cells with precise doses of radiation while avoiding healthy tissue — making it particularly effective in treating children with cancer and adult cancers of the brain, liver, and lung.”

About the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance is an initiative designed to collaboratively guide community providers toward state-of-the-art cancer care. Our overarching goal is to improve the lives of cancer patients through dynamic partnership with local care providers. The first Alliance member was Connecticut-based Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute in September 2014, followed by Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania. For more information about the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, go to

About Miami Cancer Institute

Miami Cancer Institute is a world-class clinical center and research destination, offering comprehensive cancer services with expanding clinical trials and state-of-the-art technology, including the first proton therapy treatment in South Florida, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with seven hospitals (Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital, South Miami Hospital, and West Kendall Baptist Hospital), nearly 50 outpatient and urgent care facilities, Baptist Health Medical Group, Baptist Health Quality Network and internationally renowned centers of excellence. The not-for-profit, faith-based Baptist Health has approximately 16,000 employees and 2,300 affiliated physicians. Baptist Health South Florida has been recognized as one of the 100 best companies to work for in America and as one of the world’s most ethical companies. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram @BaptistHealthSF.

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