Doctors, survivors highlight importance of cancer research and care

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 5:42 PM EST
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By: Brittany Bedi | WCTV Eyewitness News

February 20, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- People on the front lines of cancer research in Florida are calling on lawmakers for funding.

The rotunda at the Florida Capitol was filled with doctors, staff and cancer survivors speaking on behalf of Moffitt Cancer Center on Wednesday.

The Tampa-based cancer center is one of the nation's leaders in research. Moffitt president and CEO Dr. Alan List highlighted the importance of continued funding.

“More than 130,000 Floridians will receive a cancer diagnosis this year. And many will seek out Moffitt for their treatment. In order to keep up with our increasing patient volumes and our commitment to provide and develop the best cancer therapies for our patients, our clinical and research facilities need to expand,” said List.

Moffitt is one of the leading cancer research centers in the Southeast U.S.

More than 80 supporters traveled to Tallahassee to share their survival stories or how cancer impacted their lives.

"They're here to tell our story and really the story of our patients. And we're here to share all of the successes in our research, which for us, is the return on investment for the state," said List.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and his wife, Katie, spoke about the treatment she received at the hospital.

“Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the doctors, nurses and staff at Moffitt Cancer Center for the incredible support and care they provide every patient, including my wife, Katie, during her cancer treatment. Cancer impacts so many families and is prevalent among our firefighters. Thank you to Moffitt for making us feel like a priority, not just a number, and leaving a positive impact on our lives forever,” said CFO Patronis.

Funding will be used to improve cancer treatment and research. Moffitt continues to provide immunotherapy treatment. They're also working on a possible breast cancer vaccine.

Moffitt recently received approval from the FDA to use Car T cell treatment. The treatment would genetically modify patient cells to recognize cancers cells and eliminate them.