The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) celebrated the groundbreaking May 13 of a nine-story patient care tower — the Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine — that will become the new home of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC).
The $219 million tower will enable UMGCCC to provide the most technologically advanced, integrated care to cancer patients throughout Maryland and the region well into the future. The structure will feature a distinctive metal and glass façade built onto the front of UMMC’s existing downtown campus at 22 S. Greene St., transforming the face of the academic medical center and creating a new main entrance.
The expansion will enhance clinical care and research and position the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center to meet the growing need for complex cancer care, including cutting-edge cellular immunotherapies and personalized treatments tailored to a patient’s individual cancer and genetic profile. UMGCCC’s patient volume has grown significantly over the years, fueled in large part by the increase in patients with complicated cancers requiring multidisciplinary treatment and often-lengthy follow-up care. A 10-year projection in 2018 predicted that outpatient visits would increase 54 percent by 2028.
“Our new building, which was designed from the ground up with the patient experience in mind, will enable us to provide state-of-the-art cancer care to the next generation of Marylanders,” said Kevin J. Cullen, MD, UMGCCC’s director and the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Distinguished Professor of Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). “We are confident that the Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine also will serve as a platform for the discovery of cutting-edge cancer treatments that will have a significant impact on the lives of people across the state, across the country, and around the world.”
The 198,000-square-foot building, expected to be completed in mid-2025, will more than double the cancer center’s footprint. It will be constructed with $100 million from the state of Maryland, along with private donations and UMMC capital funds. Today, UMGCCC and UMMC are launching the public phase of the Building for Life Campaign to raise $55 million for the project, building on historic giving during the private phase of the campaign, which began in 2018. More than $51 million of that amount already has been raised, thanks to the generosity of 130 donors, in the largest philanthropic fundraising effort in UMMC’s history.
Bert W. O’Malley, MD, UMMC’s president and CEO, who is also a head and neck surgeon at UMGCCC and Professor of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at UMSOM, said the new building will help to position the cancer center for the future. “We want to expand both our inpatient and outpatient services to meet the increasing demand for highly specialized cancer care, particularly for people diagnosed with complex cancers,” he said.
O’Malley said the new facilities will foster the growth of clinical research and support precision medicine and immunotherapy, such as CAR T-cell therapy, which are playing an increasingly important role in cancer care and are already a major focus of clinicians and researchers at UMGCCC.
“As the name infers, the Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine will be a place where cancer patients receive the most innovative, technologically advanced care, whether it be FDA-approved therapies or exciting new treatments available in clinical trials through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine,” O’Malley said.
Six floors of the new building will be devoted to inpatient and outpatient care, and there will be a separate dedicated entrance for the cancer center. The project will include 198,000 square feet of new space and 42,000 square feet of renovated space in the medical center.
New Urgent Care Center for Cancer Patients
New services include an urgent care center that would provide 24/7 access for cancer patients, who could be treated and released without a hospital stay and an outpatient area where patients can have bone marrow transplants and other cellular therapies. The outpatient units will have exercise rooms for patients and respite rooms for staff. The new infusion center will have 48 private treatment spaces, with 36 recliners and 12 beds. There will also be a dedicated cancer pharmacy and a cell-processing laboratory.
UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, executive vice president for medical affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor at UMSOM, said that the expanded cancer center will help transform cancer care through scientific discovery and innovative clinical research.
“Our faculty is committed to engaging in lifesaving research and discovery-based medicine, and the Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine will further enhance our ability to make major breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer,” Reece said. “With the construction of this new building, we will be able to make the physical home of the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center — the bricks and mortar — as extraordinary as the work that goes on there every day.”
Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), who is a radiation oncologist at UMGCCC and the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Professor of Radiation Oncology at UMSOM, said, “The Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center has long been a major resource for residents of our state and region, with a rich history of providing compassionate care to cancer patients and leading cutting-edge research studies that advance the science. This expansion will carry the cancer center well into the next decade, providing it with the tools to handle the increasing demand and build on its reputation as one of the world’s premier cancer centers.”
One of only two NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in Maryland, UMGCCC treats just over 3,000 new patients annually for a total of 52,000 outpatient visits and 1,200 inpatient admissions. The center’s research funding has increased dramatically in recent years, now totaling more than $100 million. The center offers more than 300 clinical trials, enrolling more than 9,700 patients in clinical studies between 2015 and 2019. The percentage of minority participation is 56 percent, higher than other NCI-designated cancer centers. UMGCCC is also the academic hub of the University of Maryland Cancer Network, and patients treated at other UMMS hospitals have access through the network to new treatments through clinical trials.
Advances in Cancer Treatment
UMGCCC has pioneered advances in cancer treatment, including the development of aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer by the late Angela Brodie, PhD; the invention of the GammaPod™, a radiation treatment option for early-stage breast cancer that can reduce the number of treatments and spare healthy tissue from radiation; and the development of promising new drug compounds and immunotherapies, including next-generation CAR T-cell therapies.
The new building is named for Baltimore philanthropists Roslyn and Leonard Stoler, who have committed $25 million to advance cancer care at UMGCCC. Leonard Stoler founded the Len Stoler Automotive Group, which owns a dozen franchises in the Baltimore area and New York.
“Our deepest wish is that we can bring some light to people who are suffering physically and mentally. If we help them in any way, we’re satisfied,” Leonard Stoler said. “We care about people, and we want to help,” Rosyln Stoler added. “Helping people is what is so important to both of us.”
Barry Stoler, the couple’s son who is the chair of the cancer center’s Board of Advisors, said, "My parents have been unbelievable role models for my entire life. They taught the importance of giving back and doing the right thing — that is the way I was raised. It is a lesson that continues to inspire my own family. We live what we speak. It is a great legacy that my parents have left us."
In March, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced as part of his $216 million Cancer Moonshot initiative that he would provide $100 million for the project this fiscal year, completing the state’s funding commitment. Hogan was treated at UMGCCC for an aggressive lymphoma in 2015 and remains cancer-free. “I came to appreciate the center’s work in ways that I could not have imagined,” he said. “Thanks to the world-class care I received, I have the opportunity to continue serving the people of this great state.”
The patient rooms in the new building are located on exterior walls and will have large glass windows that provide for the maximum amount of light and views of the park across the street, although the windows can be shaded. The rooms are designed to provide a comfortable environment for patients and their families, with sleeping accommodations for caregivers to stay overnight and built-in features to minimize disruption from food delivery and trash collection.
“We really wanted to design a building that would optimize the patient’s experience,” Cullen said, adding, “Patients who are diagnosed and being treated for cancer may come to 100 outpatient visits or be admitted to the hospital for several months in the first year.”
Cullen noted that HDR, the project’s architectural firm, relied on a unique “immersive design” process to bring together staff members not only from the cancer center but also from other areas of the medical center as well as cancer patients and their families to provide input for the final design.
“We were very fortunate to work with a design company that was really forward-looking in terms of what health care facilities should look like,” Cullen said. “My hope is when the building opens, our patients and staff will feel like they are really well-cared for in a very welcoming, efficient environment which facilitates good care.”
Cullen leads the Building for Life Campaign, along with William "Brit" Kirwan, PhD, a UMMC board member and chancellor emeritus of the University System of Maryland who serves as the campaign chair. The campaign committee is comprised of a group of community leaders who advise and propel the campaign forward. Funds raised also support the advancement of clinical care, patient support services, research, training, and education within the cancer center.
UMMC has selected Clark Construction to build the new tower. The construction firm expects an average of about 165 to 170 workers on site every day, with peak staffing of 330 workers per day over the 32-month construction schedule.
For updates on the Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine, please visit: umm.edu/StolerCenter