H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

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Moffitt Cancer Center
and Research Institute
Moffitt Cancer Center viewed from east.JPG
Established 1986
Type non-profit cancer treatment and research center
Dean CEO Alan List, MD
Location Tampa, Florida, USA
Website moffitt.org
Moffit cancer center.png

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute is a nonprofit cancer treatment and research center located in Tampa, Florida. Established in 1981 by the Florida Legislature, the hospital opened in October 1986, on the University of South Florida campus.[1] Moffitt is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida.[2]


Funding for construction of the initial $70 million facility came primarily from the state of Florida's cigarette tax, while the momentum to create the center came from a cadre of legislators, physicians, educators and business leaders who envisioned a new dimension of cancer care and research in Florida.

In late 1978, H. Lee Moffitt, a Florida State Representative, recognized the need for a comprehensive cancer center within the state after several friends died from cancer. An excellent negotiator, Moffitt put his plan into motion by first proposing the idea to Dr. Hollis Boren, then dean of the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Over lunch at the Tampa Club, Moffitt proposed his idea. By dessert, Boren has signed on. "Out of that discussion came plans for a plug-shaped, multilevel cancer research teaching hospital to be built a short walk away from the USF clinics," The Tampa Times reported on Feb. 5, 1979. Moffitt and Boren had gathered information abut the need for a comprehensive cancer center, the article said, and the need was great.[3] Moffitt sought community support and convinced the State Legislature to fund the facility. During the center's planning phase, consultants associated with NCI-designated Cancer Centers were retained to ensure that the finished facility would be as technologically advanced and as efficiently designed as possible.

Groundbreaking ceremonies took place in January 1983. The center was incorporated in the spring of 1984 and was named for H. Lee Moffitt, then Speaker of the State House of Representatives. The building was dedicated in October 1986 and admitted its first patients that same month.

In 1990, the acquisition of the Research Center building across from the Cancer Center enhanced the recruitment of scientists, clinicians and support staff and expanded Moffitt's vision beyond the original structure. The Moffitt Research Center became the focal point for basic and translational cancer research with the overriding goal to produce discoveries that could be translated quickly from the bench to the patient's bedside. The Florida Legislature allocated $12 million for renovation and equipment for this 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) structure, and the Moffitt Research Center became fully operational in 1995. In 1999, 48,000 square feet (4,500 m2) of basic research lab space was added to the Moffitt Research Center at a cost of $11 million to house the growing need for additional scientists.


On June 10, 1998, in a ceremonial signing at Moffitt, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles approved a legislative initiative to fund construction of the Moffitt Tower Project, which opened in April 2003, adding more than 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of new space. This expansion includes the Vincent A. Stabile Research Building, eponymously named in recognition of the largest private donation ever made to the Cancer Center. The new construction also includes an expansion of the Moffitt Clinic. In addition to new research laboratories, which nearly double the cancer center's research capabilities, the new facilities include a digital imaging center, and a new infusion center.

In 1991, John Ruckdeschel, M.D., assumed the position of Center Director, President and CEO. Under Ruckdeschel's leadership, Moffitt became an National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2006, the NCI renewed Moffitt’s Cancer Center Support Grant for another five years. Currently Moffitt receives more than $50 million annually in peer-reviewed grant monies.

In 2002, Ruckdeschel stepped down, and William Dalton, Ph.D., M.D., became Moffitt's third President, CEO and Center Director.

In 2008, the University of Florida and Shands at UF formed a partnership with Moffitt to develop programs in cancer care, research and prevention.[4][5][6]

In 2009, the University of South Florida and Moffitt were awarded $6 million in federal grant money to create the Center for Equal Health, a five-year partnership focused on addressing issues of cancer health disparities.[7][8]

Scientific programs include Molecular Oncology, Drug Discovery, Immunology, Experimental Therapeutics, Computational Biology of Cancer, Health Outcomes and Behavior and Risk Assessment, Detection and Intervention. It also serves as the site for the Bill and Beverly Young National Functional Genomics Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Moffitt Cancer Center is affiliated with the University of South Florida College of Medicine, and provides education to medical students and residency training as well.[9][10]

On June 24, 2011, Moffitt Cancer Center opened the first blood and marrow transplant (BMT) clinic in Puerto Rico.[11]

On July 1, 2011, Moffitt Cancer Center opened a new 50,000-square-foot satellite facility at International Plaza. The building replaced Moffitt's former outpatient center at Tampa General Hospital.[12][13]

In July 2012, William Dalton, Ph.D., M.D., became the CEO of M2Gen and Moffitt's new Personalized Medicine Institute. Alan List, M.D., who previously served as Moffitt's executive vice president/physician-in-chief and president of the Moffitt Medical Group, succeeded Dalton as CEO and president. Thomas Sellers, Ph.D., assumed the role of center director.[14]

In February 2013, Moffitt began construction of a $74.2 million outpatient facility on the cancer center's 30-acre property on N McKinley Drive, about a mile from Moffitt's main campus. [15]

Research and Treatment[edit]

Through clinical trials, Jeffrey Weber, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center at Moffitt and researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center discovered two monotherapy drugs – Mekinist (trametinib) and Tafinlar (dabrafenib) – can be safely combined to overcome or delay treatment resistance for a large percentage of melanoma patients with a specific gene mutation. Approved by the FDA in January 2014, Mekinist in combination with Tafinlar is one of the biggest advancements in melanoma treatment in the past 30 years. [16]

In August 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug vemurafenib (Zelboraf) for metastatic melanoma patients who test positive for a specific gene mutation. Moffitt Cancer Center conducted a registration trial using the drug manufactured by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. [17]

Dr. Anna Giuliano, director of Moffitt’s Center for Infection Research in Cancer, led two studies on human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in men. Her work strengthened the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommendation for boys and men to receive HPV vaccinations and provided useful data for the development of realistic cost-effectiveness models for male HPV vaccination internationally. [18]


Moffit Cancer Center is located on the campus of the University of South Florida in north Tampa. The center includes the hospital, Muriel Rothman Building (clinic), Vincent A. Stabile Research Building and the Moffitt Research Center. [19]

Moffitt at International Plaza is a 50,000-square-foot full service outpatient facility near Tampa International Airport. The facility includes physician office visits, infusion services, radiation and radiology. [20]

Moffitt Cancer Center Screening and Prevention, located in north Tampa, provides services aimed at the prevention and early detection of cancer. [21]


  • From 1999 to 2014, Moffitt has been ranked one of "America’s Best Hospitals" for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. [22]
  • In 2014, Becker’s Hospital Review includes Moffitt in the 100 Accountable Care Organizations to Know. [23]
  • In 2015, Moffitt earned a Magnet designation for nursing excellence, granted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the credentialing body of the American Nurses Association. [24]

See also[edit]