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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the Boston Baskin Cancer Group have joined forces to build a comprehensive cancer institute in Memphis.

UT will build a $30 million University of Tennessee Cancer Institute and Boston Baskin will build a $40 million clinical facility next door.

The dean of the UT College of Medicine, Dr. Henry Herrod, said they’re responding to a need for high-quality cancer care.

“The concept discussions for a cancer center began two years ago between the university and medical oncologists working in Memphis,” Herrod said. “The idea was that patients in Memphis, West Tennessee and the Midsouth region deserve a comprehensive cancer center.”

Herrod said the new facility would benefit from UT’s strength in medical research and Boston Baskin’s strength in patient care.

‘The M.D. Anderson of the Midsouth’ is how Herrod wants the new center to be thought of, referring to the world-renowned cancer treatment center in Houston, TX.

“In Memphis we find a lot of people going to Houston or to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York and we wanted to make sure they had local access to the best cancer care possible,” Herrod said.

More than 12,000 patients are expected to use the new facility each year when it opens in 2005.