New Cancer Research Center construction underway

New Orelans, LA –

Construction of the new Louisiana Cancer Research Center is now officially under way in downtown New Orleans. Correspondent Eileen Fleming has more.

Cancer survivors joined local dignitaries to celebrate the start of the construction phase of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. The 10-story building is seen as the cornerstone of the city's biomedical district, where it's hoped patients will benefit from the latest cancer treatments. The center includes LSU, Tulane and Xavier universities. Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu spearheaded legislation in 2002 that set aside three cents of the tobacco tax to pay for buildings and research.

The site is adjacent to land set aside for a new proposed LSU-VA hospital. The VA is moving ahead, but the state's part of the planned shared facility is stalled. Landrieu says federal funding is still not decided. Historic preservationists and lower Mid-City residents oppose the plan, favoring instead reopening Charity Hospital. Meantime, the cancer research center is set to open in 2012.

For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.