UCSF Unveils Cancer Building Devoted to Precision Medicine

New Care for Adult Patients Centers on Tailoring Treatments to Individual Biology

By Elizabeth Fernandez

Exterior of building.

UCSF Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building at Mission Bay opens June 24, 2019. Photo by Noah Berger.

UC San Francisco is opening a pioneering cancer center devoted to providing adult patients with highly advanced treatments, including immunotherapy, genetic counseling, molecular profiling of tumors, fully integrated clinical trials, and advanced imaging.  

The UCSF Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building (PCMB) places patients and families at the center of a university commitment to deliver a new generation of precision medicine. This approach tailors individual care based on a detailed understanding of each person’s genetic or molecular information – the “signatures” of each tumor that makes it unique -- and is designed to offer novel approaches and personalized treatment to patients. 

Serving as the heart of adult outpatient cancer care at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, the new cancer center opens to patients June 24. Approximately 700 patients are expected each day when the building is fully open in the fall.    

The unique new center is part of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the San Francisco area, and of UCSF Medical Center, which is recognized as the best hospital for cancer care in California by U.S. News & World Report. Located steps away from a world-class cancer research center, the new building brings together top researchers, oncologists, surgeons and other clinicians – leaders in almost every form of cancer discovery and care – to foster new treatments and speed their delivery to patients.

Interior of hospital, showing infusion bays.

Infusion bays at the UCSF Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building. Photo by Noah Berger.

Designed for warmth, comfort and easy navigation, the new center focuses on a range of cancer services.  These include world class medical care provided by surgical, medical and radiation oncologists who work with an expanded care team to support the whole patient and their family with specialized psychosocial support, cancer specific nutrition expertise, hereditary cancer care, and wellness programs such as exercise counseling.  

“The Precision Cancer Medicine Building represents an unprecedented advance for people affected by cancer,” said Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, president of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “It is inspired by two ideals: to bring the latest, cutting edge treatments to patients more rapidly than ever before, and to ensure that our patients are front and center in everything we do.”

Located along 16th Street and connected to the Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building, the 170,000-square foot cancer hospital contains 120 rooms for exams and consultations, 47 infusion bays for chemotherapy, and 19 types of imaging services. In addition, there are 20 consultation rooms for supportive programs, such as genetic counseling, nutrition and dietary consultations, social work, psycho-oncology, complementary medicine and symptom management. PCMB also will have a patient resource center with rooms for support groups, exercise classes, physical therapy, financial counseling, and yoga. 

The six-story facility consolidates UCSF’s Mount Zion and Mission Bay solid tumor practices into one location. In additional to providing clinic space for most cancers, PCMB will house chemotherapy infusion, radiology, pathology, first in human/phase 1 clinical trials, and radiation oncology. 

“At PCMB, individualized plans, developed by a team of care providers, will guide patients through their personal journeys in coping with cancer,” said Laurel Bray-Hanin, vice president and chief operating officer of cancer services at UCSF. “We designed a unifying system, essentially a series of stepping stones starting at the front door, to make treatments as easy as possible. Our patients will have timely access to the most precise treatments, including cutting-edge diagnostic tests and therapies, as well as our extensive and growing number of clinical trials.”  

Our new center embodies an environment of calm beauty and attentive expertise created to meet the complex needs of patients for physical and emotional healing.

Laurel Bray-Hanin

The project brought patients, their families and community members into the planning from the beginning, providing much of the vision and design of the $275 million building. Among their insights were special rooms on each floor to allow patients to rest following cancer treatments. They also recommended offering an acute cancer care program, which will be open each weekday to enable UCSF cancer patients who are in pain to obtain treatment directly from the new center, instead of visiting an emergency room.   

“Cancer is a difficult journey, and the human touch is at the center of our cancer care,” Bray-Hanin said. “Our new center embodies an environment of calm beauty and attentive expertise created to meet the complex needs of patients for physical and emotional healing.” 

The new adult cancer center is one block from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, which provides innovative cancer care for pediatric patients.

PCMB is designed to foster relationships between patients, clinicians and researchers. This patient-centered approach paves the way for integrated clinical and research teams to leverage discoveries, collaborate across tumor-based programs, and accelerate innovation, all part of the emerging precision medicine approach to disease prevention and treatment.

“Great care starts with a close relationship between patients and their care team, but it becomes state-of-the-art when that care team has full access to the ever-widening circle of expertise that informs cancer care today,” said Laura Crocitto, MD, vice president and chief medical officer for cancer services at UCSF Health. “PCMB was designed to help bring scientists closer to the clinical work, the clinical work closer to the science, and to bring together, in one space, the full team of providers who guide a patient’s cancer care. The result is a new model of truly patient-centered care.”

About UCSF Health: UCSF Health is recognized worldwide for its highly innovative patient care, reflecting the latest medical knowledge, advanced technologies and pioneering research. It includes the flagship UCSF Medical Center, which is ranked among the top six hospitals nationwide, as well as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, with campuses in San Francisco and Oakland; Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics; UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians and the UCSF Faculty Practice. These hospitals serve as the academic medical center of the University of California, San Francisco, which is world-renowned for its graduate-level health sciences education and biomedical research. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. Visit www.ucsfhealth.org