With the unveiling of a special plastic, Queen Máxima performed the official opening of the brand new building of the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in Utrecht in the Netherlands. The Queen visited the unique Center on two earlier occasions. The Princess Máxima Center is the result of an initiative of both professionals and parents. Every year about 600 children in the Netherlands contract cancer. One in four children with cancer still die from this disease. That is why, more than ten years ago, parents, united in the VOKK, and health care professionals, united in SKION, initiated opening one national pediatric oncology center, the Princess Máxima Center.
Integrating care and research
To date, pediatric care and research was spread among 7 centers in the Netherlands. As of now, the highly complex care, research and training of pediatric oncology are concentrated in the Princess Máxima Center. The board of directors consists of drs. Diana Monissen, CEO; Prof. Rob Pieters, CMO; Prof. Hans Clevers, CSO. The Center's mission is to cure every child with cancer, whilst retaining optimal quality of life. Close collaboration between care and research will lead to curing more children with cancer. With less adverse effects in later life. Not only the concentration of all care and research is unique; particularly the integration of care and research makes the Princess Máxima Center special and unique in Europe. This integration is also necessary to gain new insights, to develop new treatments and improve existing treatments
Currently, 25 research groups are already fully focused on childhood cancer within the Princess Máxima Center. This number of groups will increase even further in the coming years. By concentrating in one center, all patients can now participate in research and the results of research can then also rapidly be applied to all patients. This is an important benefit of concentrating care and research for all sorts of childhood cancer. Previously, both care and research were spread among multiple centers, which resulted in research and implementation of results taking longer, and research not being conducted for each form of childhood cancer. Naturally, the Princess Máxima Center works closely in care and research with child oncological professionals and scientists all over the world.
The Princess Máxima Center has four departments: hemato-oncology, solid tumors, neuro-oncology and the late effects outpatient clinic. Clinical care, day treatment and outpatient care are integrated within every department so that each patient receives his total care within one and the same department. All healthcare providers come to the child and their parents instead of the other way around. The Princess Maxima Center wants the development of the child to continue as much as possible during the illness. For this development-oriented care, the Princess Máxima Center puts child and family at the center of attention. There are many special facilities in the building to stimulate this. For example: the unique parent child rooms: adjacent to each patient room is a parent room in which parents can stay with their child 24/7, both with their own room, their own provisions and their own entrance. The building playground for small children is also special as is the chill room for teenagers and the science & discovery center where children can playfully learn more about what cancer is and what the treatments entail. The Center also offers various living/dining rooms equipped with a kitchen. Where families can not only eat together but also prepare their own meals.
The Princess Máxima Center started in 2014 with the care of children with a specific form of cancer. From the beginning of 2016, the Center started its own research programs. In February 2016, the first pile was driven into the ground for the new building, opposite the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital in Utrecht, with which there is intensive collaboration. At this time, at the opening, the Princess Máxima Center is the largest child cancer center in Europe in which all care, research and training for children with cancer is bundled into one top center.