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Mayo Clinic's Florida Campus invests $100 million in expansion, including new "destination" cancer center

New Cancer building will house integrated services for complex cancer, as well as neurologic and neurosurgical care, Clinic says.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Mayo Clinic Florida CampusMayo Clinic Florida Campus

The Mayo Clinic's Florida campus will invest $100 million in major construction projects, with the first one slated to begin this summer. The world-renowned health organization will start the build on what it calls a "destination" medical building, providing integrated services for complex cancer, as well as neurologic and neurosurgical care.

The initial, 100,000-square-foot building will rise four stories, but has the potential for 11 more; and the clinic expects more than 126,000 patients to visit the facility during its first year of operation.

In a statement, Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Florida, said the new building represents one of the clinic's "significant investments" in its facilities and patients.

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Features of the new facility include two floors devoted exclusively to hematology and oncology, more than doubling the size of those departments, complemented by a 50 percent increase in staff. The number of clinical trials is also expected to increase as a result.

[Also: Mayo Clinic in Florida to build lung restoration center, only second of its kind]

A new chemotherapy area will include a dedicated nourishment section and a patient library. One floor will be devoted exclusively to neurology and neurosurgery, with 12 new neurologists and neurosurgeons slated to be hired. An outdoor garden and meeting space for support groups will be created, and space will be designed specifically for Mayo Clinic's education efforts and the training of residents and fellows.

Another construction project on Mayo's Florida campus that begins this year is a state-of-the-art positron emission tomography radiochemistry facility. The facility will house a radiochemistry laboratory and a cyclotron, which is a particle accelerator important in the production of radiopharmaceuticals.

The facility will produce Mayo-developed choline C-11 used in certain PET scans, which "light up" prostate cancer wherever it is found, providing targets for therapy. The hope is that locating recurrent prostate cancer sooner may enable Mayo physicians to target the cancer more quickly, before it spreads even further, allowing for more effective treatment.

Farrugia said the cyclotron will "play an important role in research."

[Also: Mayo Clinic exec: Good billing lifts patient experience as cost and care merge]

"Millions of dollars are spent each year in the U.S. on producing cancer therapies that don't help -- often because physicians and medical personnel can't see where the cancer has spread," he said, adding that the cyclotron, and production of the imaging technology, will "reduce cost and advance scientific discovery."

Over the next five years, the Mayo Clinic will add about 40 physicians and scientists, and 250 allied health employees, to support the new medical building and PET radiochemistry facility. Mayo currently has 5,351 employees and contributes more than $1.6 billion to the Florida economy.

Twitter: @JELagasse