The Laurie K. Lacob Pavilion at the Stanford Medicine Cancer Center opened July 17. The state-of-the-art facility, for transplant and cellular therapies, is a light-filled space for healing.
July 31, 2023 - By Krista Conger
On Monday, July 17, the Laurie K. Lacob Pavilion at the Stanford Medicine Cancer Center played host to the first patients rolling down its hallways and into spacious, light-filled rooms.
The pavilion is the culmination of three years of construction that first stripped the building down to its steel girders, then rebuilt it to achieve new milestones in sustainability, patient care and comfort. Its opening is the first step in a $1.5 billion project to transform the hospital at 300 Pasteur Drive in Palo Alto, California, into a state-of-the-art cancer care center that meshes seamlessly with the newer hospital next door.
Drew Wilson, 64, was the first patient moved into the new facility. A former UPS driver from Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, Wilson is undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma at the center and was moved from his former room on the ground floor of the cancer center.
“It is beautiful,” Wilson said of his new room. “The windows are huge and look out over the redwoods, and the air filtration mechanism is very quiet. The move in went without a hitch, and the transport team got me settled into my new room in about 10 minutes.”
The smooth transition is a testament to the years of planning and careful construction that preceded the opening.
“As with the entire renewal project at 300 Pasteur Drive, we designed and constructed this pavilion to support our patients at every step of their healing journey and to enhance efficiency and comfort for our world-class clinical teams,” said David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care. “We’re thrilled to reach this milestone in the hospital’s transformation and eager to share this welcoming environment with our patients, staff, and community at large.”
Only the first pavilion
The completed facility, slated to be fully open in 2030, will house a total of 232 private patient beds, 21 state-of-the-art operating rooms, 72 recovery bays, and modernized fixed fluoroscopy and diagnostic imaging departments.
The four-story Laurie K. Lacob Pavilion has 68 beds, all single occupancy. Two floors are dedicated to patients undergoing cancer cellular therapy such as CAR-T cell treatment and blood and marrow transplantation, and another serves as an intensive care unit. An adjacent facility will process the cells used for CAR-T and stem cell therapies.
Custom artwork lines the walls of the four floors of the pavilion, and curved reception desks for each unit create a sense of welcome and peace.
The pavilion’s rooms feature large and energy-efficient windows; spacious roll-in bathrooms; and a sofa bed for family members staying overnight. The pavilion also includes centralized supply locations, conveniently located nursing stations, and team meeting rooms to optimize workflow and enhance patient and staff safety and well-being.
“The rooms have been completely transformed,” said Sridhar Seshadri, chief cancer operations officer for Stanford Health Care. “The windows are much bigger and the large, multistory atrium that extends from the basement to the top of the building has also been reconfigured to a cozier patient- and family-friendly three-floor space with flexible seating.”
“We are excited to care for patients in this beautiful, sunlit environment that will benefit both the patients and their care teams,” said David Miklos, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapy. “Having two floors dedicated to cell therapies means we can move this treatment approach from primarily blood cancers to solid tumors in the brain and other organs, and an in-house facility to prepare these cells will allow us to conduct clinical trials and move care forward.”
Comfortable, energy-efficient rooms
For his part, Wilson appreciates the motion-activated lights; the large, eye-level television screen mounted to the wall; the remotely operated window shades; and the dedicated charging station for his electronics — as well as his caretakers. “Everyone here has been absolutely wonderful, and everyone is in a great mood,” he said. “Even the food has been great.”
Although some aspects of construction were challenging, such as the decision to remove a lip at the entrance to each room’s bathroom that could be difficult to navigate with IV poles or in wheelchairs, patient comfort and safety always came first. Fixing the issue required creating a depression in each bathroom floor, which then had to be reinforced to meet seismic safety guidelines.
“This required significant time and money to accomplish, but we felt it was a critical upgrade for our patients,” said Helen Wilmot, Stanford Health Care’s chief facilities and sustainability officer. “Now they can roll right into the bathroom. It’s hard to convey how excited we are about how the rooms look and function.”
The building was designed to be energy efficient and sustainable, with dimmable LED lighting, upgraded insulation and window glass, and mechanical fan units that are efficient and quiet.
The rooms are also designed for multidisciplinary care and digital health. Angela Kopetsky, the administrative director of blood and marrow transplantation and cellular therapy program, noted that each is equipped with the latest technology in telehealth so patients and clinicians can hold remote consultations with specialists when appropriate. “And the state-of-the-art air infection control and air filtration systems allow immunocompromised patients to move about without needing to wear HEPA masks at all times,” she said.
“In the end, it’s not about the money that was spent, or how impressive the building appears,” Seshadri said. “Most important is that we believe, from the bottom of our hearts, that this will be a good healing place for our cancer patients.”
Laurie K. Lacob, who passed away in June, was a long-standing philanthropist and supporter of Stanford Medicine. She served on the board of Ronald McDonald House Stanford and the board of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and was a longtime member of the Stanford Cancer Council and Under One Umbrella Committee. In 2011 she made a gift establishing a professorship for the director of the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center and towards funding research, faculty recruitment, and supportive services for patients and their families. Her subsequent philanthropy, including establishing a directorship for the Stanford Cancer Institute, touched many areas of Stanford Medicine over the years.
About Stanford Medicine
Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.