UAMS Unveils New Cancer Research Labs

U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman helped unveil new cancer research labs at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on Friday.

Located on the ninth and 11th floors of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the space features research labs designed with an open floor plan to promote collaboration and interaction among scientists. The opening of the new space results in an additional 33,660 net square feet of research space at the Cancer Institute, Arkansas' only academic cancer research center.

According to UAMS officials, research labs on the ninth floor will be devoted to research on "liquid cancers" such as multiple myeloma, leukemia and lymphoma and also house a proteomics facility, where scientists study proteins and how they can lead to "personalized" medicine.

Orthopaedic oncology and the Center for Orthopaedic Research already occupy previously constructed space on the ninth floor.

The 11th floor labs will be dedicated to solid tumors, including brain, skin, breast and cervical cancers. The metabolomics and nanomedicine shared facilities also can be found on this floor. Metabolomics is the study of the small molecules in biological systems such as tumors.

"Research is the key to understanding why cancer develops and in finding new, more effective ways to treat our patients. These research labs will give us a significant advantage as we move forward in our current and new research programs," Peter Emanuel, director of the center and professor of medicine at the UAMS College of Medicine, said in a news release.

Pryor and Boozman each hailed the addition's potential to help more Arkansans diagnosed with cancer and help UAMS recruit more top-notch scientists.

The construction project was funded by a federal grant of more than $10 million and completes two previously unfinished floors in the Cancer Institute's expansion tower that opened in August 2010.

Cromwell Architects and Engineers of Little Rock was the lead architect for the project, and FKP Architects of Houston provided research expertise. CDI Contractors was the general contractor.