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Mount Sinai Medical Center Opens New High-Tech Research Facility

By DNAinfo Staff on December 13, 2012 8:50pm

EAST HARLEM — Mount Sinai Medical Center launched a new 500,000-square-foot clinical and research facility on Thursday, opening the way for cutting-edge studies and treatments, hospital officials said.

The Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine, at 1470 Madison Ave. between East 101st and East 102nd streets, features six floors for laboratories and two floors for outpatient care, such as imaging and cancer treatment.

"The Hess Center is really going to be a game changer," Peter May, Mt. Sinai's chairman, said at a press conference announcing the grand opening. "Not just for Mount Sinai — but for the future of healthcare."

Work in the $440 million center will range from autism treatment trials to a supercomputer that processes diagnostic data.

The center will also have a combined MRI and PET machine — one of the only ones in the world — which allows doctors to detect abnormalities earlier and develop more targeted treatments, hospital officials said.

Also, Mt. Sinai has bolstered its cancer treatments by adding two additional "linear accelerators" — machines integral to radiation therapy.

Dr. Kenneth L. Davis, Mount Sinai president and CEO, said the building's design — which features an open spiral staircase between lab floors — will let staffers work together more closely.

"That is what this building was about," he said. "It was designed to facilitate collaboration."

Alongside the 10-story Hess Center is a new 52-story apartment building, located at 1214 Fifth Ave. at 102nd Street, which will house the hospital's primary care and diabetes work in addition to 229 apartments, officials said.

Twenty percent of the apartments in the luxury building are designated as affordable housing, officials said.

Local elected officials who spoke at Thursday's opening event included State Sen. Liz Krueger, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez as well as Community Board 11 Chairman Matthew Washington.

The hospital expects that the project will generate 800 jobs in the next four years and bring in more than $350 million of National Institutes of Health funding within the next five years.

Development at Mount Sinai, which drew flak from labor leaders over the summer, is said to be part of a "medical arms race" taking place in the Upper East Side, as several other top-tier facilities are planning new construction projects and extensive renovations as well.