Investor Spotlight: Moffitt Cancer Center
May 24, 2021
Moffitt Cancer Center is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 50 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 6,500 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.5 billion.
Patrick Hwu, MD, President and CEO
Patrick Hwu, MD, is the president and CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center, one of the nation’s leading cancer hospitals and the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center based in Florida.
As an internationally recognized tumor immunologist, Dr. Hwu has led pioneering research and clinical efforts to better understand the interactions between tumors and the immune system. He helped launch the field of gene modified T cells, publishing research on the first chimeric antigen receptor directed against cancer. His work focuses on vaccines, adoptive T-cell therapies and immune resistance. An internationally recognized physician scientist, Hwu has a proven track record leading collaborative teams to make breakthroughs in science while improving cancer outcomes for cancer patients.
You’re a relative newcomer to Tampa Bay. What is it about this market that has pleasantly surprised you? What do you tell people out of this area about Tampa?
I came to Tampa at a great time! I hear winning the Superbowl, Stanley Cup, and making the World Series isn’t normal, but I’d say I’m off to a great start. #ChampaBay
This City has been incredibly welcoming to me. I love how diverse the community is and I feel like Tampa Bay is only going to grow and attract more talent. I don’t think I will have any problems recruiting leading physicians, scientists, and bio tech industry to this area. I look forward to working with the EDC on this.
From where do you envision the most significant breakthroughs coming in cancer treatment in the next decade?
Cell therapy will be a game changer for cancer. My own research focuses on T-cell therapy, which takes a type of immune cell called T cells out of the body, engineers them in a lab to attack cancer, and infuses them back into the patient. Moffitt has a top cell therapy program, and we’re one of the only cancer centers growing tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, or TILs, against lung cancer and using them to treat patients. We’re so invested that we want to become the cell therapy capital of the universe.
What in your view are Moffitt Cancer Center’s greatest opportunities for growth in the short term, and the longer term?
We are continually exploring ways to better meet the demands of our patients. We don’t have enough space to treat all of the patients who need us, but we can extend Moffitt’s care to other facilities to reach more people. We are building an expansion hospital that will open in 2023 on McKinley Drive. The hospital will be a 10-story, 498,000 square-foot facility located on 20 acres across from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center. The construction for the new hospital started this year and is planned to open in July 2023. The hospital is key to Moffitt’s growing patient pool. The cancer center serves patients from 130 countries and locally serves every county in Florida. Over the next 10 years, Moffitt anticipates a 65% increase in patient volumes and a 33% increase in cancer surgeries.
We believe everyone in the State deserves the level of care Moffitt provides. Our future plans include several expansions throughout the State.
What role do you see Moffitt Cancer Center playing in building Tampa’s life sciences industry sector?
I know we will continue to play a vital role that I hope to expand exponentially. We have the science and talent in this area which warrants us being a destination for biotech and innovation. We will create a research and corporate innovation district that will be a life sciences destination for the world. I’ve already been meeting with biotech companies and others interested in the venture.