Patients, doctors, researchers and bioengineers in Lausanne will soon all be housed under the one roof.
One of the keys to successfully fighting cancer lies in translational research which is aimed at ensuring patients benefit as quickly as possible from the latest scientific advances. This requires researchers, medical teams and those who are ill to be grouped together on one single site. This is what the University of Lausanne and Lausanne University Hospital aim to achieve by constructing two new buildings on the hospital campus.
The first will house the Coordinated Centre of Oncology (CCO) which will bring together clinical practitioners and cancer patients. The nearby Agora building will house the Lausanne Swiss Cancer Centre (SCCL), devoted to research. The SCCL, which is the result of a partnership between the University Hospital, University of Lausanne, Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne (EPFL) and the ISREC Foundation, could, in the future, also welcome biotech and medtech companies. The centre is certainly “never going to be the biggest in Europe”, according to Eric Raymond, director of the hospital’s medical oncology department, “but it can become the best. This is particularly the case given that it will be able to rely on a centre of excellence in fundamental research.”
For his part, George Coukos, director of the department of oncology at the University Hospital and of the UNIL Ludwig Centre, does not conceal his enthusiasm for the project. “Bringing together doctors, researchers and bioengineers under the one roof will stimulate collaborative efforts which in turn will lead to major breakthroughs in therapeutic strategies for patients with cancer.”
Rapid access to innovation
Lausanne University Hospital will thus possess all the skills required to develop translational research. Indeed, the hospital has recruited renowned specialists to its oncology department, notably George Coukos, Lana Kandalaft, director of the Centre for Experimental Therapies, and Eric Raymond. The first two specialists are from the United States, where they worked together at the University of Pennsylvania, and the third is from France.
The infrastructure will be equally ambitious. Researchers will have access to all the necessary facilities “under one roof”, as confirmed by Lana Kandalaft. In particular, they will have a platform designed for the manufacture of therapeutic vaccines and production of T-cells used in immunotherapy. But there will also be rooms earmarked for patients taking part in the clinical trials of new treatments developed in the laboratories. As this leading researcher points out “there are currently just over 220 patients and we think we will be able to accommodate over 600 in the near future”. It is a way of offering patients “better quality care and rapid access to innovation in all its forms,” concludes Eric Raymond.