In next-gen cancer battle, the MART money’s on SBU

Cut to cure: A who's-who of regional rainmakers, local lawmakers and SUNY execs cuts the ribbon on Stony Brook University's new Medical and Research Translation Building.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

For sure, this is no Kwik-E-Mart.

After more than 3 million workhours packed into years of planning and construction, the future has arrived at Stony Brook University, in the shape of Stony Brook Medicine’s new 240,000-square-foot Medical and Research Translation Building.

Going by MART, the cutting-edge medical facility – increasing Stony Brook Medicine’s cancer-patient capacity by 150 percent, while bringing to bear the latest and greatest cancer-fighting tools and techniques – was welcomed with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Thursday by a gaggle of SBU and regional officials.

Encouraging revolutionary breakthroughs, ancillary medical discoveries and new lifesaving treatments, the eight-story facility was funded in part through a $35 million SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant and $50 million from longtime SBU benefactors Jim and Marilyn Simons.

That $50 million stipend was part of a $150 million gift bestowed by the Simons Foundation in 2011, the largest donation in SUNY history.

The Campaign For Stony Brook also tapped its $630 million war chest to chip in, along with other state, private and school-based funding sources.

Kristina Johnson: Education meets innovation at the MART.

It all adds up to a cutting-edge R&D and treatment facility that will “help drive innovations in the treatment of cancer while enhancing the medical education of our students,” according to SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, who trumpeted a “prime example of the impact we can make” on surrounding communities.

“Facilities like the MART support SUNY’s vision of doubling research and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, all through a network of partnerships,” added the chancellor, who was in attendance at Thursday’s sun-splashed grand opening.

Stony Brook University president Samuel Stanley Jr. noted the MART was already facilitating innovative collaborations between Stony Brook Medicine and other schools in the Stony Brook system, and said the best of those partnerships was yet to come.

“Imagine what we will accomplish once this building is filled with the pre-eminent doctors and scientists from across campus, the state and the globe,” Stanley said.

The new building, located on the Stony Brook Medicine campus adjacent to Stony Brook University Hospital, is designed to provide outpatient clinical care, including medical oncology for both children and adults, with other research and laboratory spaces dedicated to the pursuit of new discoveries in surgery, radiation therapy, pathology and other disciplines.

Among them: the Kavita and Lalit Bahl Molecular Imaging Laboratory, where a cyclotron – also known as a particle accelerator – will team up with a PET scanner to help researchers develop unique ways to precisely target tumors.

The MART boasts child-friendly exam spaces and private infusion rooms for pediatric patients, as well as private treatment spaces and comfortable common areas for adults, along with a resource center, a beauty salon, a wellness/yoga room and other “patient-centered amenities (that) address the personal needs of patients and their families,” according to SBU.

Kenneth Kaushansky, SBU’s senior vice president of Health Sciences, cited a “convergence of the three-part mission of Stony Brook University School of Medicine as Long Island’s premier academic medical center: research, education and clinical care.”

“The MART brings together Stony Brook clinicians and researchers to share ideas and inspiration in ways never before imagined, to drive discovery and innovation,” Kaushansky, also the dean of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, said in a statement.