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New Cancer Center Planned

New Cancer Center PlannedThe Tufts-New England Medical Center will dedicate $19 million to establish an institute to develop new strategies for identifying and treating cancer.

Boston [05.08.02] In an effort to find new strategies for diagnosing and treating cancer, the Tufts-New England Medical Center will spend $19million over the next eight years to build a molecular oncology research institute. The state-of-the-art center will be led by a nationally renowned researcher who started his career at Tufts' Medical School, hospital officials announced this week.

"The goal here is to develop the second (National Cancer Institute)-designated center in Boston," Dr. Michael Mendelsohn --a Tufts Medical School professor -- told the Boston Herald.

Slated to use 40,000 square feet of laboratory space located near the Tufts-NEMC facilities and the Tufts School of Medicine campus, the new center will complement the hospital's existing cancer-care programs.

According to the Herald, "The goal of the institute is to establish programs in cancer genetics, DNA research and the study of programmed cell death."

Dr. Philip Tsichlis -- a nationally-renowned authority on molecular oncology (the study of cancers) -- was tapped as the institute's executive director.

"He discovered a gene in protein that is one of the most important being studied today," Mendelsohn told the Herald. "He has superb interpersonal skills, and the commitment to developing the careers of young scientists in an environment that protects them and helps them grow."

Tsichlis started his career at Tufts' School of Medicine, where he trained under the supervision of two highly respected physicians Robert Schwartz and William Dameshek. Schwartz and Dameshek contributed a critical medical advance in understanding of the human immune system by demonstrating in 1959 that certain drugs could prolong the survival of transplanted tissues.

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