Groundwork begins for historic cancer partnership in Seattle

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Planning is underway among several Seattle institutions to explore a shared mission to advance care for cancer and other diseases

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Seattle Children’s today announced plans to explore restructuring their longtime relationship to accelerate a shared mission of advancing diagnosis, treatment and pioneering of cures for cancer and other diseases.

If finalized and approved, the proposed restructure would establish an adult-focused oncology program and, separately, a pediatric oncology program. These programs would be collaborative and integrated with the innovative cancer research from Fred Hutch, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s.

Under the new structure, SCCA and Fred Hutch would merge to form Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, an independent, private, not-for-profit organization operating as a clinically integrated part of UW Medicine. As part of the merger, all SCCA clinical sites would be Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center sites. Seattle Children’s would continue operating independently and be the central site for pediatric cancer care among the organizations. Creating Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center would further strengthen the alliance’s contributions to Washington state in health care delivery, economic growth and a robust life sciences industry. Members of UW Physicians, who are School of Medicine faculty, would provide cancer care at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and other parts of UW Medicine.

In the coming weeks and months, leaders from the four organizations will discuss the restructure with governing boards, faculty, staff, labor partners, government officials and other stakeholders to inform the plan with the goal of securing all necessary board and governmental approvals by early 2022.

“We are at an unprecedented time in which our understanding of cancer biology, integrative data science and the critical importance of compassionate care are coming together. We must evolve our institutions to harness this moment,” said Dr. Tom Lynch, president and director of Fred Hutch and holder of the Raisbeck Endowed Chair. “This historic partnership has the potential to impact cancer outcomes globally as we shorten the timeline between discovery and use of the newest treatments.”

“We’re extremely proud of all we’ve accomplished in more than two decades of bringing hope, healing and world-class cancer care to the Pacific Northwest,” said Dr. Nancy Davidson, president and executive director, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “This new structure would create an opportunity to define the next era of our partnership – one that would build on our strengths and lay the groundwork for our next 20 years.”

The proposed structure also reflects plans currently underway to consolidate the outpatient pediatric bone marrow transplant program at SCCA to Seattle Children’s as part of the hospital’s upcoming expansion with the opening of Building Care.

“Providing care to children and working to advance pediatric oncology research are core to who we are as an organization,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, chief executive officer, Seattle Children’s. “The opportunity to collaborate with a newly optimized Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center would help us deliver hope, care and cures to even more children in our region and beyond.”

SCCA was formed in 1998 as a partnership among Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine. Over the past 20 years, SCCA clinical care teams have provided care and access to clinical trials to more than 190,000 cancer patients through nine SCCA-operated treatment centers across Washington state.

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