Invest: Miami speaks with Richard Ballard, CEO

Miami is becoming an international cancer treatment destination, and the groundbreaking research, comprehensive diagnostics and discoveries of targeted treatments at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami are big reasons.

A Memorial Sloan Kettering study published in JAMA found Sylvester is one of 11 national cancer centers with the best patient outcomes, meaning our patients are more likely to survive than those at nearly any other hospital.

Sylvester is one of three Florida academic centers— the only one in South Florida—that Governor Rick Scott funded to achieve National Cancer Institute designation, allowing us to treat patients in more personalized ways with targeted therapy and treatment based on patients’ genetic makeup.

To offer these treatments, we invest in advanced technology. With radiation technology ViewRay— only five exist in the world—we deliver radiation in real time to avoid destroying healthy tissue and reduce side effects.

We also partner with centers researching therapies in clinical trials, including Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, MD Anderson in Houston, and Dana-Farber in Boston. Our collaborations with South Florida and out-of-state medical centers will become important as the federal announcement of the National Immunotherapy Coalition supports cancer research.

Today, 36 percent of our patients come from Miami-Dade, while 47 percent come from Broward and Palm Beach counties and 8 percent are international, mostly from the Caribbean and Latin America. With a diverse population, we can conduct ethnic-specific research, advancing prevention and shaping diagnostics and treatments. Miami-Dade’s demographics, geographic position, growing population and improving economy are strong fundamentals for it to become a cancer research hub.