Press Releases

July 12th, 2021 Baptist Health South Florida

Miami Cancer Institute Launches HIV-Cancer Clinic, Becomes Member of AIDS Malignancy Consortium

Miami, FL ― July 12, 2021 ― Miami Cancer Institute has opened an HIV/Cancer Clinic for patients with both HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and cancer. The Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, has also become a member of the AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC), an international organization that researches new treatments for patients with both diseases. Together, the programs will provide these particularly complex patients with better access to new clinical trials as well as coordinated, multidisciplinary care in one location.

Dr. Marco Ruiz

“The attention to detail for patients with HIV and cancer is critical,” says hematologist Marco Ruiz, M.D., chief of HIV Oncology and HIV Stem Cell Transplantation at the Institute. “While some healthcare organizations offer good care for one or the other, there are few places that offer the highest-quality care for someone with both diseases. As a member of the AMC, we are recognized for our expertise and our innovative care, as well as for having the infrastructure, such as our state-of-the art laboratory capabilities and our robust clinical trials program.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, there are more than 115,000 individuals with HIV living in the state ― the majority of those in South Florida. People infected with HIV have a significantly higher risk of developing cancer, particularly malignancies such as Kaposi sarcoma, aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cervical cancer and others, reports the National Cancer Institute.

Some of the advantages of the National Cancer Institute-supported Consortium include assistance with funding for trials and the sharing of information between members. Nearly 40 institutions are members worldwide, including top cancer organizations such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Fox Chase Cancer Center at Temple University, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. In addition to Miami Cancer Institute, Florida’s other members include Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Moffitt Cancer Center.
Miami Cancer Institute is offering five clinical trials through the AMC and hopes to add others soon, Dr. Ruiz says. “Another factor that makes Miami Cancer Institute unique is that we offer stem cell transplantation for those infected with HIV and certain cancers. This is showing great promise as a cure for both diseases.”

Miami Cancer Institute has already performed an allogeneic (donor) stem cell transplant on a patient who has both HIV and an aggressive form of lymphoma. The procedure involved finding a matching donor who also had a specific mutation in a gene that offers resistance to HIV infection. Typically, it can take up to two years before a patient such as this can be declared cured, however, the patient is currently doing well six months after transplantation.

Because Florida has the third highest number of HIV-infected residents among states in the U.S., the development of the clinic and the addition of Miami Cancer Institute to the AMC is significant, says Guenther Koehne, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director and chief of Blood & Marrow Transplant and Hematologic Oncology at the Institute. “There are many people who will benefit from this expertise. These are exciting steps forward in improving care for HIV-infected cancer patients.”

Miami Cancer Institute operates a number of cancer clinics under one roof so that patients can see multiple specialists and caregivers in one visit. For more information on the HIV/Cancer Clinic and the AMC program at Miami Cancer Institute, please feel free to visit the Miami Cancer Institute Clinical Trials site or The Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation program page.

About Miami Cancer Institute

Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology programs in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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