New MCG Cancer Center to bring research breakthroughs to the bedside

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Think about this:

Every 20 minutes in the state of Georgia, someone's diagnosed with cancer. In South Carolina it's one every 30 minutes.

And in Georgia, every 40 minutes, someone dies of cancer. It’s one every hour in South Carolina.

That's the reason for the new Cancer Research Center at MCG.

The research center will bring breakthroughs in cancer study from the research bench to the bedside.

On News 12 at 6 O’clock on Wednesday, our viewers got the tour before anyone else.

While workers are still putting the finishing touches on the Cancer Research Center at MCG, what they're working on symbolizes that the there really is no ceiling on what can be discovered here.

"Over 80% of the cancers in GA are breast, prostate, lung and colon--and if we could make major strides in these cancers we could affect 1/2 of those cancer mortalities," says MCG President Dr. Dan Rahn.

Meaning thousands of people would not have to die of cancer in Georgia…and instead could get cutting edge treatments right here at MCG.

And strides will also be made in treating infectious diseases like AIDS...something Andrew Mellor is working on.

"It's fabulous…but during our 10 years here this is a big difference,” says Dr. Andrew Mellow, a molecular geneticist at MCG. “We were in a closed lab or facility, compare that to what you can see is a completely open facility."

And it is open by design.

"There is an intellectual reality, ideas come out, people share creativity, if people can see each other," Dr. Rahn says.

Research benches extend as far as the eye can see on the fourth floor, providing space for 70 to 80 people to work.

And that's just one of 4 floors that will be filled eventually.

Two floors are being left unfinished until MCG hires a director--he or she will decide how to customize them for the researchers they bring in.

And although MCG fully expects this building to be the centerpiece for new discoveries, they acknowledge this:

"It’s not the building itself--it's the most obvious and concrete example of the progress, but buildings are not the point--it's the research that goes on here,” says Dr. Rahn.

The Cancer Research Center opens later this month.

The researchers moving in right away are all funded by grants from organizations like the National Institute of Health.

They expect to have the building filled within the next several years.