OSF Cancer Institute: From Dreams to Reality

Planning started in 2014. It was the most ambitious philanthropic endeavor in the history of OSF HealthCare. The vision was to make Greater Peoria a destination for hope, healing and world-class cancer care. With the $250 million, state-of-the-art OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute set to open its doors in late February — that dream is now a reality.

It’s not just a medical facility with advanced treatments, cutting-edge research and compassionate care. The OSF Cancer Institute symbolizes resilience and triumph in the face of adversity. It represents a community coming together for the greater good. The future of cancer care has arrived, and it resides in Greater Peoria.

Scroll down to learn more about the 180,000-square-foot OSF Cancer Institute and the profound effect it will have on patients, their families and our region.

The Comfort of Home

A cancer diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming, often requiring extensive travel for specialized care.

The OSF Cancer Institute is a hub for hard-to-treat cancers and will attract people from all over the Midwest. But OSF understands the emotional and physical toll it takes on patients to travel for treatment. That’s why they’ve built a culture to ensure all visitors feel at home when they come here — from putting families up in hotels to assisting with transportation to devoting entire teams to the patient experience.

For patients living in Greater Peoria, the days of traveling for treatment are over. They no longer have to leave their loved ones or the comfort of home to get the care they deserve. Sleeping in their own beds, surrounded by family, friends and familiarity, is an invaluable aspect of their healing journey. Staying close to home fosters a sense of emotional support and connection when they need it most.

Revolutionizing Radiation

The centerpiece of the new OSF Cancer Institute is proton therapy, providing life-saving treatment for the most hard-to-reach tumors. Proton therapy allows oncologists to pinpoint precisely where to place the energy, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. It also reduces the risk of cancer reoccurrence and is a more effective and safer alternative to standard radiation, especially for children. And it’s rare.

There are less than 50 centers nationwide offering proton therapy.

OSF used to send about 150 patients out of Peoria each year for proton therapy, taking them away from home Monday through Friday for up to five weeks. Not anymore. They expect to treat 25 patients a day when at capacity.

Along with proton therapy, OSF HealthCare offers a vast array of game-changing cancer-fighting technologies like Gamma Knife, cryoablation, microwave ablation, NanoKnife therapy, as well as the latest technology for administering brachytherapy and chemotherapy. This level of advanced technology matches up with the top cancer institutes in our country, and the goal is for OSF HealthCare to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation by 2031.

Groundbreaking Clinical Trials and Research

The new Cancer Institute is home to the Breakthrough Treatment Center. OSF is operating the Breakthrough Treatment Center in collaboration with Origin, a network of science institutes and professionals dedicated to developing and accelerating promising therapies.

The OSF Breakthrough Treatment Center provides patients with the most hard-to-access clinical trials, medical advances and research from around the world. This center positions Peoria as a hub for scientific discovery and early detection capabilities, opening a whole new world of possibilities in the fight against cancer right here in the river city.

Fueling Resilience with Nutrition

Nutritious food is potent medicine. Eating well while being treated for cancer helps patients:

  • Feel better
  • Keep up strength and energy
  • Maintain body weight and nutrients
  • Better tolerate treatment-related side effects
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Heal and recover faster

In the lower-level foyer of the OSF Cancer Institute is the glass-enclosed Teaching Kitchen. The Teaching Kitchen offers hands-on education to patients on how to eat to ensure the best treatment and prevention. It also teaches family members how to cook for loved ones during their fight, ensuring they carry a healthy lifestyle back into their homes.

Elevating Cancer Care and Our Economy

The OSF Cancer Institute will have a monumental economic impact on Greater Peoria. As mentioned above, OSF’s goal is to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, which has changed the economic landscape of other cities with such institutes. NCI-designated cancer centers contribute hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of new jobs to their economies — the equivalent of having 2-3 Fortune 500 companies in town.

Robert Anderson, the Central Region CEO for OSF HealthCare, sees a bright future for Greater Peoria. “We expect as many as 15,000 patients and support people each year, which will generate over 30,000 hotel visits and the associated restaurant and retail usage. Our conservative estimate is over $1 billion impact over ten years for the five-county area surrounding the Cancer Institute,” says Anderson.

The Power of Philanthropy

Philanthropy is one of the cornerstones of Greater Peoria, and the OSF Cancer Institute is proof of what happens when a community comes together. The benevolent contributions will live forever, standing as a testament to the power of compassion and collective goodwill.

“The community has truly been amazing. We’re beyond grateful for all the generous donors throughout our Ministry. None of this would be possible without their gifts,” says Tom Cox, OSF vice president of oncology services.

The OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute has ushered in a new day for cancer care. A new day full of promise, hope and healing.

The dream is now a reality.

To see the state-of-the-art OSF Cancer Institute, check out the open house video here.