SEATTLE – Dec. 23, 20101 – The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) will soon open a new community-based radiation treatment center on the Swedish Ballard campus. The centerpiece is the first TomoTherapy® Hi-Art® system in the Seattle metropolitan area. It is a unique, unified medical device that combines CT imaging with full helical delivery of highly targeted, intensity-modulated radiation therapy designed to treat particularly difficult tumor targets as well as common types of cancers.
The nearly 4,000 square-foot facility, located at 5225 Tallman Ave. N.W. (across the street from Swedish Ballard’s main entrance), will combine a specialized therapy room or ‘vault’ for the TomoTherapy treatment system, along with patient and clinical staff areas. SCI physicians and Swedish staff now are doing testing, calibration and both refresher and advanced TomoTherapy training, with the first patients scheduled for treatment Jan. 31.
SCI radiation oncologist Daniel Landis, M.D., Ph.D., is the lead physician at the new center. “TomoTherapy has a wide range of applications,” he said. “It is particularly appropriate for treating cancers of the head and neck, brain, breast and pelvic areas. And it’s well-suited to the treatment of complex tumors and those close to vital organs.”
Altogether, Swedish will invest more than $4 million in the new radiation treatment center, the Hi-Art unit and support services and equipment. Dr. Landis estimated the center will treat up to 200 patients each year with TomoTherapy. Currently, the Ballard campus provides medical oncology services for both injectable and infused chemotherapy patients. Patients will now benefit from having both radiation therapy and chemotherapy available close to home.
Incorporating TomoTherapy, one of the more advanced forms of radiation treatment, he explained, was a logical service extension.
“Swedish has had a long-standing interest in the fuller development of cancer care in Ballard,” said Albert B. Einstein, M.D., SCI executive director. “Given the recent expansion and redevelopment of the campus, it made perfect sense to now augment and expand oncology services there.”
The Ballard cancer services will be another component of the Swedish Cancer Institute network providing treatment services close to patients’ homes coupled with coordinated access to unique, advanced medical expertise and technology when needed.
Patients undergoing radiation therapy are often treated five consecutive days a week for two to seven weeks. Jennifer Graves, Swedish Ballard nurse executive, noted that “people really like cancer care delivered close to home in a restful setting, instead of having to drive downtown every day. The new building is very accessible and has free, dedicated parking right next to it.”
Treatment with a TomoTherapy system is a painless experience lasting 10-20 minutes per session and is similar to having a CT scan. The technology delivers tens of thousands of individually programmed ‘beamlets’ of radiation as it rotates around the patient. And the system can treat multiple lesions simultaneously, reducing the ‘time on table’ for many people.
The TomoTherapy platform incorporates a CT scanner-based ring gantry design that allows low-dose, three-dimensional CT imaging immediately prior to each daily radiation treatment. That helps insure the patient is properly positioned, and the images can be used to monitor progress and adapt a treatment plan based on anatomical changes during the course of treatment.
“Conventional radiation therapy machines deliver a wide beam of radiation from only a few angles,” said Dr. Landis. “TomoTherapy can greatly improve the precision in targeting a tumor while helping to avoid exposure to adjacent healthy tissues and organs.”
The concepts behind TomoTherapy were developed in the early 1990s at the University of Wisconsin. Researchers there recognized the limitations of conventional radiation therapy systems to integrate new advancements in computing, imaging and radiation treatment delivery. The technology was clinically introduced by TomoTherapy Incorporated in 2003. More than 300 TomoTherapy systems worldwide have since been installed.
‘Green’ Building Technology
RAD Technology Medical Systems (www.rad-technology.com) developed the modular, energy-efficient building housing the radiation treatment center. By installing RAD’s patented, factory-fabricated radiotherapy treatment vault and clinic Swedish was able to cut the traditional construction schedule in half, while creating a facility that conforms with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
“Hospital and clinic buildings are among the most difficult types of structures to make compliant with LEED criteria,” said Jim Yates, administrative director of the Swedish Cancer Institute. “With assistance from RAD, we found a way to blend our need for leading-edge technology, accelerated project delivery and our commitment to the environment all in one package.”
About Swedish Cancer Institute
The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) opened in 1932 as the first dedicated cancer-care center west of the Mississippi. It is the largest and most comprehensive cancer treatment program in the Pacific Northwest, caring for more people with more types of cancer than any other provider in the region. The Institute has a presence on all four of Swedish’s hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard and Edmonds – as well as in East King County and at Highline Medical Center in Burien. A true multidisciplinary institute, SCI offers a wide range of advanced cancer-treatment options in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – backed by extensive diagnostic capabilities, patient education and support-group services. For more information, visit www.swedish.org/cancer.
Swedish has grown over the last 100 years to become the largest, most comprehensive non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area with 8,500 employees, 3,000-physicians and 1,200-volunteers. It is comprised of four hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard and Edmonds); emergency departments and ambulatory care centers in Issaquah, Redmond and soon Mill Creek; Swedish Visiting Nurse Services; and Swedish Medical Group – a network of more than 40 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area. Swedish recently opened a new emergency department and medical office building (MOB) on its Ballard campus and will open a new MOB and hospital in the Issaquah Highlands in the summer of 2011. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org, www.twitter.com/swedish or www.facebook.com/swedish#!/swedishmedicalcenter.