Video: Baptist-Vanderbilt Reach Cancer Research Deal

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Executives with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation in Memphis, Tenn., and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, Tenn., have announced an academic affiliation agreement — paving the way for new clinical research and academic education opportunities that are designed to enhance cancer programs.

The new affiliation establishes a framework for collaborative oncology initiatives between Baptist Cancer Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). Baptist cancer patients will have increased access to VICC clinical research trials and genetic diagnostic tools. Many of these services will be available in local communities through Baptist’s 14-hospital system across Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas, including Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle in Columbus, Miss.

VICC is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of just two centers in Tennessee and 41 in the country to earn this highest distinction. VICC is also a nationally-recognized leader in personalized cancer medicine.

“What this means to Mid-South residents is enhanced access to specialized research and genomic medicine,” said Jason Little, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Baptist. “This relationship will allow us to bring a whole new level of cancer research to Memphis and the surrounding area. We will be working with Vanderbilt-Ingram to develop more personalized cancer programs based on patients’ genetic makeup, which is the future of cancer therapy.”

“Our affiliation with Baptist Memorial Health Care creates an outstanding opportunity for Vanderbilt to closely collaborate with the highly-skilled, highly-dedicated clinicians and researchers with Baptist Medical Group,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., Deputy Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System.

The goal of the academic affiliation is to enhance cancer care throughout the region served by BMHCC and to advance VICC’s mission to prevent more cancers whenever possible and move research discoveries and new treatments to individuals with cancer much more quickly.

Specific goals of the academic affiliation include:

— Joint clinical trials

— Sharing of clinical pathways

— Sharing of cancer tissue to help advance personalized, genomic-based therapy

— Jointly held disease-specific conferences for physicians and staff

— Research-based fellowship training programs in oncology subspecialties

— Joint public education programs in cancer prevention, treatment and control

— BMHCC’s participation in National Comprehensive Cancer Network activities as a VICC sub-site

— Partnership in grant applications for cancer research funding

Baptist and VUMC will continue to maintain additional relationships with other health care institutions throughout the region.

During the past year, Baptist Medical Group has expanded its cancer services, adding nearly 30 oncologists, a breast surgeon and two Harvard-trained thoracic surgeons.

“Our mission at VICC is to share our research discoveries for the benefit of cancer patients everywhere and this relationship with Baptist Cancer Center is an example of our commitment to physicians and patients throughout the region,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Director of VICC.

Baptist Golden Triangle provides complete cancer services, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, a dedicated pharmacy and an on-site laboratory and medical technologist. Technology, including a fully integrated linear accelerator with advanced simulation and 3-D treatment planning, helps deliver high-quality care to patients. Physicians perform many types of procedures, including high dose rate brachytherapy, delivering radiation directly to and within tumors without affecting healthy tissue, and, in many cases is an effective alternative to conventional surgery. The treatment is administered over only a few days with very little discomfort to patients.

“What this means to cancer patients is enhanced care,” said Paul Cade, administrator and CEO of Baptist Golden Triangle. “The partnership will allow Baptist to bring a whole new level of cancer research to Memphis and north Mississippi, including Columbus, Starkville and the surrounding area,” he said.

“Our leadership, physicians and medical care teams will be working with Vanderbilt to develop more personalized cancer treatment based on patients’ genetic makeup, which is the future of cancer care. In fact, our newest medical oncologist Dr. Vel Matthews-Smith trained at Vanderbilt and has close ties to the medical center there,” Cade added.

Dr. Matthews-Smith and Dr. Wail Alnas currently see patients at the hospital’s new cancer clinic in Doctor’s Park in Starkville. The clinic plans to provide chemotherapy infusions four days a week, Cade said.

With 328 beds, Baptist Golden Triangle is the largest regional hospital affiliated with the Memphis, Tenn.-based Baptist Memorial Health Care system. With physicians and surgeons representing almost every medical specialty practicing at the hospital, Baptist Golden Triangle offers a wide range of comprehensive medical care to patients of all ages.

The hospital offers a variety of services to the community, including the Baptist Cancer Center-Golden Triangle, Baptist Behavioral Health Care for those with behavioral and mental health problems, an emergency room with 24-hour ambulance service, an extensive rehabilitation department, and educational programs. Baptist Golden Triangle employs more than 1,000 health care professionals. For more information, please call 662-244-1000 or visit

With nearly 300 faculty members, VICC generates more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 cancer centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees approximately 6,000 new cancer patients each year. VICC collaborates with 21 of the world’s leading centers in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere. For more information, visit

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