By Kelu Zhang
Hawaii will soon have its first cancer clinical research center for cancer patients.
The center, named Ho`ola, meaning healing in English, will be built at the University of Hawaii (“UH”) Cancer Center in Kaka’ako, according to a UH news release.
The center will cost approximately $13 million, equally funded by the Federal’s National Institutes of Health and the State; and will have the size of approximately 36,000 square feet.
The new cancer center has the mission to provide phase 1 experimental treatment for patients with difficult-to-treat cancer or advanced cancers that no longer respond to normal cancer treatment methods. It is estimated that approximately 100 to 200 cancer patients will have the opportunity to be treated in the center every year, all of whom will contribute to the center’s cancer research study.
The construction of the Ho`ola center will soon end an era when phase 1 cancer patients’ only hope was to fly to U.S. mainland cancer centers for treatment. “I am so pleased to learn that the UH Cancer Center has received full funding to build the Early Phase Cancer Clinical Trials Center,” said state Senator Breene Harimoto. “As the first facility of its kind in Hawaii, the center will offer hope for Hawaii residents battling advanced cancers by providing them with the opportunity to participate in early phase clinical trials without having to leave the state. This greatly reduces the financial, physical, and emotional hardships of having to travel to the mainland for treatment that may be their last hope.”
The Ho`ola cancer research center will be the expansion of UH’s cancer research. It is a joint effort of the UH Cancer Center, Hawaii Pacific Health, Kuakini Medical Center and the Queen’s Medical Center. With approximately 6,700 people diagnosed with cancer annually in the State of Hawaii, the new cancer center will hopefully be able to help some cancer patients and their families significantly once it is completed.