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Melbourne's world-class cancer centre opens

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC)
Photo: The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC)
Victoria has officially opened its new centrepiece in cancer treatment, training, research and care.

The $1 billion, 13-storey Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) in Parkville was officially opened with US Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son to brain cancer last year, announcing an agreement that will see Victoria and the USA join forces to share information on cancer prevention, control and management.

The deal will also strengthen research ties, supporting the exchange of up to four senior cancer researchers a year between Victoria and the USA’s National Cancer Institute sites.

The VCCC provides a new home for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, which cares for about 30,000 patients each year, and has more than 2,220 clinical and research staff.
Peter Mac occupies about 85 per cent of the new building which features 160 inpatient beds, 110 chemotherapy, medical and same-day beds and chairs, eight operating theatres, two procedure rooms, and eight radiation therapy bunkers with six linear accelerators.

Nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and other staff moved into the facility, which was built on the site of the former Royal Dental Hospital, last month.

The centre has education and training facilities comprising 47 seminar and meeting spaces and three lecture theatres.

It will also host about 1200 cancer researchers, with cancer research and clinical facilities for Peter Mac, Melbourne Health, and research and education facilities for the University of Melbourne.

The VCCC includes the development of four new floors on top of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, which comprises a new $33 million 42-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), linked to the VCCC via a covered bridge above Grattan Street.

The ICU, which opened its doors in May, has four separate pods, with each pod able to operate as a mini ICU, while 22 beds can be converted into negative pressure units in the event of a pandemic.

Premier Daniel Andrews labelled the VCCC’s opening as a “momentous step forward” in the fight against cancer.

“This is Australia’s first ever, purpose-built comprehensive cancer centre, built with the vision to save lives by connecting the world’s best cancer research, education, treatment and care under one roof,” he said.

“In this iconic, state-of-the-art building, the best and brightest medical minds will work side-by-side to fast-track future cancer breakthroughs and deliver first class care and treatment to patients.”

Level 13 of the facility, named the Ian Potter Centre for New Cancer Treatments, will be home to several world-class research agencies, including the Peter Mac-led Immunotherapy Research Program, the Cooperative Research Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, the Australian Genome Research Facility and the Innovative Clinical Trials Centre.

“The work happening on this floor will be dedicated to developing cutting-edge treatments and technology to better the lives of all Victorians touched by cancer,” Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords