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Seattle Children’s It Starts With Yes campaign includes plans for a 540,000 square foot research center in downtown Seattle. (Seattle Children’s Photo)

Seattle Children’s, a hospital and research institute focused on curing childhood diseases, is kickstarting the biggest campaign in its 110-year history.

The campaign is called It Starts With Yes and aims to raise $1 billion to expand the hospital’s capacity and also fuel new research into treatments for deadly and devastating childhood diseases.

As part of that initiative, the organization unveiled plans to build a new 540,000 square foot immunotherapy research center in downtown Seattle, called Building Cure. The center will focus on researching immunotherapy treatments for a huge variety of diseases, including cancer, diabetes and HIV.

Seattle Children’s Research Institute is already working on research into new immunotherapy treatments and is also conducting clinical trials into immunotherapy treatments for childhood cancer.

Seattle Children’s CEO Jeff Sperring. (Seattle Children’s Photo)

About half of the $1 billion campaign will go towards research. The remainder will help expand Seattle Children’s capacity with a 300,000 square foot extension of the hospital, called Building Care.

“Kids need us now more than ever,” Seattle Children’s CEO Dr. Jeff Sperring said in a press release. “Together, we can envision a day where we can say yes to hope, care and cure for every child. Until that day comes, our work is not done. We need to go big.”

The scope of the project was inspired by the fast-growing demand for the organization’s services. In 2016, the hospital network saw more than 420,000 patient visits. That number is double what it saw just 10 years ago.

Seattle Children’s was ranked among the top ten children’s hospitals in the country in 2015 and 2016.

Its new immunotherapy center will be in good company in Seattle: The city is home to groundbreaking immunotherapy research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which opened the first clinic dedicated to immunotherapy in December.

It is also home to biotechnology companies working in immunotherapy, including Seattle Genetics and Juno Therapeutics, one of the leading CAR T immunotherapy companies in the U.S.

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