By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh’s vast medical community is expanding once again.

This time, Allegheny Health Network has announced plans to spend $200 million to build a new academic and research cancer center.

The facility will be integrated into the campus of Allegheny General Hospital.

“It will house both surgical and radiology oncology,” says David Holmberg, president and CEO of Highmark Health.

Beyond the flagship facility at AGH, there will be at least half a dozen satellite cancer treatment centers scattered throughout the area.

“Because we believe that the battle in this war around cancer needs to be fought as close to home as possible,” adds Holmberg.

Those facilities will offer medical and radiation oncology care.

The plan is part of Allegheny Health Network’s partnership with Johns Hopkins, and will include the breadth of Johns Hopkins extensive research.

“We will have access to a combined of over 600 active clinical trials many of which will be available and new to the region.”

Johns Hopkins will also provide remote consultations and share its innovative treatments.

Cancer is currently the second leading cause of death in the United States, and as the population ages, it’s estimated there will be 2.3 million cases annually over the next decade.

But there is good news.

“There’s no field of medicine that I think is changing more rapidly than cancer,” says Dr. Paul Rothman, Dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cancer screenings and treatments are improving so much that the number of cancer survivors is expected to grow dramatically from 11.7 million in 2007 to 18 million in 2020.

When all is said and done, Allegheny Health Network says the expansion may generate as many as 175 new health care jobs across the area.

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