December 3, 2015

Dr. Michael Finan is the Cancer Center Director for the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Cancer Institute. He spoke of the Center’s 5-year plan for expansion and why it is so important for our area. The Mitchell Cancer Institute is the referral facility for an area that includes East Louisiana, South Mississippi, South Alabama and West Florida. Not only does the Center work toward the cure of existing cancer cases, they have a huge emphasis on cancer prevention.
One of the examples of prevention includes a partnership with the Culinary Medicine center at Tulane University. South Alabama’s center has researchers working 24/7 to find cures and effective means of prevention. Many drugs are being developed to fight all kinds of cancer. In fact, they currently have a 50,000 lb. compound library for work on drug development. DNA is the source for all cancers, which is why the research is so focused on DNA.
In 2014, there were almost 3,000 new cases of cancer referred to USA’s Mitchell Cancer Institute. The “referral zone” mentioned by Dr. Finan includes more than 16,000 new cancer cases each year. Many of the patients in this zone are poverty stricken.
One of the major goals for Mitchell Cancer Institute is to become NCI-qualified by forming a Consortium with UAB. Dr. Finan mentioned that Mitchell has created 5 spin-off Bio-Tech companies for our area. Also, while minorities average ten percent of the patients nationally, MCI treats approximately thirty-nine percent minority patients.
In the next five years, USA expects to build a 20,000 square-foot facility at USA Health, a 12,000 square-foot facility in Fairhope, and a 48,000 square foot facility on campus.
Invocation was Laureen Lynn, Gordon Korb led us in the Song and Pledge, and Les Greer played the piano.