The University of Chicago Medicine broke ground on its $815 million project to build the state’s first and only standalone structure dedicated to cancer care and research. The 575,000-square-foot, seven-story pavilion builds off the University of Chicago’s decades of work and leadership in cancer research and its designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The academic health system seeks to improve the experience for patients with cancer, reduce health disparities in underserved communities and speed up scientific discoveries through the freestanding pavilion, which will be built on its flagship campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side.
Expected to open to patients in spring 2027, the building will allow UChicago Medicine’s nationally recognized clinicians, physician-scientists and researchers to better collaborate with colleagues across the University of Chicago. The team of more than 200 people currently works in more than five different buildings on the Hyde Park campus. The new facility will be the central point of cancer research efforts, new therapy development, clinical advancements and other discoveries.
UChicago Medicine is one of 72 hospitals in the U.S. and one of only two in Illinois designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as delivering cutting-edge cancer care to patients in its communities. The “Comprehensive” distinction is the gold standard for cancer programs bestowed by the NCI and recognizes the innovative research, leading-edge treatments, and extensive community outreach and education initiatives conducted at or by the organization.
The building — which includes 80 inpatient beds, 90 outpatient exam rooms and dedicated imaging, infusion and clinical trial spaces — comes as the incidence of cancer increases nationwide. The CDC estimates cancer rates will grow by 49 percent between 2015 and 2050 in the U.S. The numbers are even more daunting on the South Side, where cancer rates are expected to climb 19 percent in the next decade alone, compared with nine percent in the rest of the Chicago area. South Side residents are twice as likely to die from cancer as people living in the rest of the country.
The new building’s additional inpatient beds will allow UChicago Medicine to open other rooms for patients with complex or acute care needs in areas such as organ transplants, digestive diseases, cardiology, orthopedics and trauma care. This, in turn, will help address some of the capacity constraints for the medical center, whose beds are full most days of the year.
Among the unique features of the new cancer care and research pavilion:
- It will streamline access to diagnostic and treatment innovations, which will help to bring clinical trials to historically underrepresented populations.
- It will leverage advances in emerging areas of research, such as cancer metabolomics, as well as the latest approaches in big data and artificial intelligence to better diagnose and personalize cancer treatment.
- Its researchers can expand and expedite the on-campus “molecule to medicine” therapy development pipeline by working with partners at UChicago’s Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering and Argonne National Laboratory.
- It will house a suite of support services for patients and their families, from cancer screenings to lifestyle classes, nutrition education, survivor support, music therapy, fitness classes and a retail store selling cancer-specific products, such as wigs or clothing with openings for ports.
The new facility and its community-focused programs were conceived following an extensive master design process using feedback from hundreds of key stakeholders, patients and neighbors. The building proposal was approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in June 2023. Key partners in the project include architect CannonDesign and Turner Construction, both of which are working with diverse firms to build the pavilion.