When Ryan Hunter-Reay’s mother received her cancer diagnosis, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner said they didn’t know what to do, where to go or who could help.
“We basically found ourselves in a black hole — no road map,” he said.
His mother died of colon cancer in 2010. On Wednesday, he and others welcomed South Florida’s newest weapon against cancer and other diseases: Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Collaborative Research.
The 215,000-square-foot project in Davie took more than eight years and $100 million to complete. Both AutoNation and Hunter-Reay’s nonprofit Racing for Cancer donated $10 million to the project.
The building, 3200 S. University Dr., houses labs, offices and conference and patient rooms that will consolidate much of NSU’s science and medical research into one place.
Previously, labs and offices were scattered across the campus, but now five different science institutes are housed there.
“That’s the difference here,” said Dr. H. Thomas Temple, senior vice president of translational research and economic development and an orthopedic surgeon. “It’s seamless, and the silos are no longer in existence.”
Dr. Nancy Klimas, an expert in immune disorders, said the center will allow patients to receive a more complete picture of their health.
“People talk to each other. Instead of saying ‘Oh, it’s a neurological disorder’ or ‘No, it’s an immunological disorder,’ we can say, ‘No, it’s a neuroimmune disorder. It’s altogether,’” Klimas said. “Now we can get a handle on it and treat these patients far more effectively.”