Celebrating the MART and New Home for Stony Brook University Cancer Center
Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine celebrated a momentous milestone on Nov. 1 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Medical and Research Translation (MART) building and Stony Brook University Cancer Center.
Stony Brook leaders and staff toured the state-of-the-art facility, which will change the future of cancer care through revolutionary breakthroughs, medical discoveries and lifesaving treatments for patients with cancer on Long Island and beyond.
Located on the Stony Brook Medicine campus and connected to Stony Brook University Hospital, the MART offers expanded space for patients and families in an environment that promotes healing, fosters research and offers hope for new ways to cure and prevent cancer.
“Already collaborations are occurring across Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine disciplines, which is key to developing new life-changing technology and cancer treatments,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President, Stony Brook University. “Imagine what we will accomplish once this building is filled with the pre-eminent doctors and scientists from across campus, the state and the globe.”
“The MART brings together Stony Brook clinicians and researchers to share ideas and inspiration in ways never before imagined, to drive discovery and innovation,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. “This facility also represents the convergence of the three-part mission of Stony Brook University School of Medicine as Long Island’s premier academic medical center: research, education and clinical care.”
With eight stories and 240,000 square feet, the MART is made possible in part by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the State University of New York and Empire State Development through a $35 million NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant, $50 million in support through a historic $150 million gift from Jim and Marilyn Simons, and $53 million in support from New York State Senators John Flanagan and Kenneth LaValle.
“This cutting-edge medical and research center will offer hope to patients and their families while solidifying New York as a nationwide leader in medical research,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this state-of-the-art facility we are one step closer to discovering a critical breakthrough in the fight against cancer and creating a stronger and healthier New York for all.”
“SUNY has a profound influence on the communities that surround our campuses, and the MART, an important facility that will help drive innovations in the treatment of cancer while enhancing the medical education of our students, is a prime example of the impact we can make,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “Facilities like the MART support SUNY’s vision of doubling research and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, all through a network of partnerships. Thank you to all who have made the opening of this facility possible through your generosity and support.”
“Stony Brook is a wonderful place to help, and Marilyn and I are so pleased to be a part of it. We all know the graduate school and medical school are outstanding,” Jim Simons said. “In addition, the undergraduate programs take in a great many students who are first in their family to go to college and get an education. And it’s gratifying to see these students graduating faster than ever. This University has it going well in every way, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it”.
“The effect that Jim and Marilyn Simons have had on Stony Brook is absolutely priceless,” said Dr. Stanley. “Simply put, we would not be celebrating the MART and Cancer Center today without their commitment to Stony Brook and their dedication to the greater good of humankind.”
“This groundbreaking treatment and research facility is a great example of public-private partnerships working together to provide individuals with the highest quality of medical care available today,” said New York State Senator John Flanagan. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to help establish a state-of-the art cancer center right here in our own backyard, and I want to thank the collaborative efforts of my colleagues in government, the generosity of the Simons family and the stewardship of Stony Brook Leaders for making it happen.”
“Throughout my tenure as state senator, I have made access to quality, affordable healthcare a top priority,” said New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. “The MART will deliver state-of-the-art care to my constituents close to home. I congratulate Stony Brook Medicine on this milestone, which will bring the most advanced patient care and treatment technology to this region.
Outpatient clinical care will occur on Levels 5 and 6 of the facility, with medical oncology provided for both children and adults. For pediatric patients, there is child-friendly exam space with private pediatric infusion rooms. Adult patients are cared for in private treatment spaces and have multiple setting options for infusions, including comfortable seating areas and a fireplace to promote conversation among patients.
Additional patient-centered amenities address the personal needs of patients and their families, including a resource center, wellness room for yoga, beauty salon, and a boutique providing prostheses, wigs and mastectomy apparel.
“We are more than doubling our capacity,” said Yusuf A. Hannun, MD, Director, Stony Brook Cancer Center, Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine and Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research. “Here, we also designed the space and its utilization to enhance how we tackle cancer. We are organized into specialized teams that focus on specific cancers. We bring physicians from distinct areas — such as medical oncology, surgery, radiation therapy, radiology, pathology — to focus on specific diseases and on individual patients.”
This focus on cancer research translates into an advanced program in clinical trials and translational research at the MART, where Cancer Center physicians can ensure that their patients have access to the latest approaches that are being developed either at Stony Brook or elsewhere. The building also houses the Kavita and Lalit Bahl Molecular Imaging Laboratory, where a cyclotron (particle accelerator) will be used in conjunction with a nearby PET scanner to enable cancer researchers to develop unique ways to more precisely target tumors. The cyclotron was funded in part by $500,000 awarded by New York State’s Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
Research collaborations are already taking place between Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine, including:
- A first-in-human clinical trial using CAR T cell immunotherapy for patients who are suffering from extremely difficult-to-treat T cell lymphomas and leukemias.
- Demonstrating improved survival outcomes for lung cancer patients treated under a multidisciplinary model of care.
- Pioneering new tests for early detection of urothelial cancers – among the most common cancers encountered worldwide.
- Inroads in demonstrating that genetically manipulating and removing the most common mutant form of the p53 gene that promotes colorectal cancer in humans reduces tumor growth and tissue invasion.
These are just a few examples of the vital work being conducted at Stony Brook that will launch the University to the forefront of cancer research. Stony Brook’s expertise in bioinformatics – the study of biochemical and biological information using computers – will broaden discoveries in cancer biology by enabling comprehensive analysis of data relating to genes and proteins.
As part of Stony Brook’s mission to educate the healthcare professionals and biomedical investigators of the future, medical education will take place in a spacious 305-seat auditorium and 10 classrooms that can accommodate more than 300 students. The new classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology to record educational activities for later viewing, with flexible seating that’s easily configured for small-group learning activities.
The ribbon-cutting included tours of the facility, as well as two Ted-style talks by Aaron Sasson, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Interim Director for Cancer Center Clinical Operations, and Laura Hogan, MD, Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
To learn more about the MART and Stony Brook Cancer Center, visit www.thischangescancercare.com.