IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- The City of Hope has announced a $1 billion investment to develop and support a comprehensive cancer campus in Irvine, next to the Great Park.
The 11-acre campus includes a 190,000-square-foot building that will be the anchor, set to open in 2021. In partnership with developer Five Point, City of Hope officials say they will build the county's only specialty hospital dedicated solely to treating and curing cancer.
"Highly specialized cancer care, clinical trials, phase 1 through 3 and also precision medicine and the use of cancer detection and prevention," said Annette Walker, the president of City of Hope, Orange County.
Walker says last year, they had 3,200 patients who live in the O.C., who made the lengthy commute to City of Hope's main campus in Duarte for treatment.
"Across Orange County, 20% of the people who are diagnosed with cancer, find a need to leave to get that highly specialized care," said Walker.
That includes patients like Leslie Seigel, who was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in 2017. During her six months of treatment, she drove to Duarte every week, often an hour and a half each way. She cannot wait for this new space to open.
"Thank god I had my husband and friends to take me, because it wasn't easy," said Seigel. "Because Duarte is not right around the block."
This announcement is an expansion of an initial plan crafted last year. That called for a $200 million, 73,000-square-foot center that would've opened in 2025.
"Cancer doesn't wait, so we can't wait either," said Walker.
Walker says patients made it clear that they needed more space and sooner. That's what prompted them to invest more and accelerate plans to open the campus a few years ahead of schedule. It will eventually be attached to Five Point's health care campus at the Great Park, with the idea of giving patients all the care they need in their own community.
"The model of the city of the future is going to be about a sustainable society and you can't today ignore healthcare," said Emile Haddad, the chairman and CEO of Five Point.
City of Hope to open dedicated cancer campus in Orange County by 2021
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