University of Hawaii's Cancer Research Center targets 2010 groundbreaking on research and clinical trials facility in Kakaako

Matrix approach to clinical care strongly supported by hospital CEOs

University of Hawaiʻi
Dr. Michele Carbone, (808) 586-3013
Interim Director
Brian Minaai, (808) 956-7935
Office of Capital Improvements
Posted: Jan 29, 2009

HONOLULU — With lease negotiations with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority successfully concluded for a site next to the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaʻako, discussions with Townsend and Company progressing, and Hawaiʻi hospital CEOs endorsing a proposed matrix-style clinical care system, the University of Hawaiʻi‘s Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi research and clinical trials facility is aiming for a projected groundbreaking in mid-2010, with an opening date in late 2012 or early 2013, university officials told legislators today.

"We thank the Legislature for identifying a source of funds for our efforts via an increase in the cigarette tax," said UH President David McClain. "Since the 2008 Legislature adjourned and with a funding stream assured, we have been working deliberately and diligently to bring our dreams to reality. Assuming negotiations with Townsend come to a successful conclusion, the design phase for a research and clinical trials facility is estimated to be completed by mid-2010, at which time we will proceed into construction. The construction will take approximately 30 months, with a projected opening date in late 2012 or early 2013."

The university is currently in discussions with Townsend and Company, a firm experienced in cancer research projects throughout the United States that was selected by the UH Board of Regents with which to conduct exclusive negotiations.

Dr. Michele Carbone, interim director of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi, has articulated a vision for the facility that will take advantage of strong partnerships with cancer providers and hospitals in Hawaiʻi while also putting the center on course to sustain its current designation as one of more than 60 National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers, and earn the NCI‘s highest designation of being a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

To achieve this vision, Carbone recommends a "matrix" cancer center model that allows physicians and scientists to work together in collaboration to conduct clinical cancer research within the community hospital systems. Two-thirds of all the cancer centers in the United States operate under a matrix model, while one-third have a stand-alone facility model.

"Under the matrix model, rather than having a single clinical facility operated by the university as part of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi, the research performed at the center will be translated and applied to diagnosis and treatment at already existing hospital facilities throughout the state by doctors located at those facilities," said Carbone. "We believe this is the most effective and practical model for Hawaiʻi."

The matrix model is strongly supported by The Queen‘s Medical Center, Kuakini Medical Center and the four hospitals of Hawaiʻi Pacific Health—Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Straub Clinic & Hospital, Kapiʻolani Medical Center at Pali Momi and Wilcox Hospital.

"We are all seeking to improve the care of cancer patients in Hawaiʻi and believe that a community-wide clinical research collaboration creates significant opportunities to support this goal with the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi," said Art Ushijima, CEO of The Queen‘s Health Systems and The Queen‘s Medical Center.

For more information about the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi, visit

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