Friday, February 4, 2011

New radiation oncology technologies in the Lunder Building

ADVANCED RADIATION ONCOLOGY: The Lunder Building will house four new advanced linear accelerators offering precision radiation oncology therapies.

With occupancy of the Lunder Building scheduled to take place this summer, many MGHers are curious about what services and departments will move into the new building. The areas that will be located in the Lunder Building include expanded emergency services, radiation oncology, imaging, neurosciences, and surgical and procedural facilities. To help the MGH community learn more about each area and their new capabilities and enhancements, MGH Hotline regularly will publish articles highlighting each service.

While the foundation of MGH Radiation Oncology is built upon the expertise, skill and dedication of the department’s staff members, the incorporation of the most advanced technologies helps to support the overall objectives of caregivers who aim to provide the best quality and safest patient care possible. With the opening of the Lunder Building this summer, the department will continue to provide the utmost attention to care, compassion and healing to its patients and add several upgrades to its fleet of equipment.

Housed in the lowest two floors of the Lunder Building, known as LL2 and LL3, will be the James M. and Ruth P. Clark Center for Radiation Oncology, an expanded radiation oncology center that will be relocated from the Cox Building. The new space was designed not only to be able to house state-of-the-art equipment, but more importantly to foster collaboration. An expanded patient area and open floor plan will improve access for patients and facilitate coordination of care among caregivers across disciplines.

“At the Lunder Building, multidisciplinary collaboration was a key element in the design of the radiation oncology space,” says Andrea Paciello, executive director of Radiation Oncology. “Not only will the open floor plan and proximity of the department to the MGH Cancer Center and Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at the Yawkey Center enhance communication among physicians, physics staff, nurses, therapists, and patients and their families, but our patients undergoing chemotherapy infusion treatments or having medical or surgical oncology appointments at the Yawkey Center on the same day will have the convenience of appointments only steps away. The new location at the Lunder Building also will improve the coordination of activity for our radiation oncology staff members who will be supporting the care in both the Lunder Building and the Proton Center.”

Patients undergoing radiation oncology treatment at the Lunder Building will have access to areas for patient education and supportive care services – such as yoga classes, massage therapy, social work services and nutrition counseling. In addition, there will be an inpatient stretcher area, comfortable gowning and waiting spaces, and more exam rooms for the expansion of the department’s consults, weekly visits and follow-up care. These interior enhancements will dovetail with the new technological advances in equipment.

Four new linear accelerators that will be installed in the Lunder Building will feature numerous advanced technologies – including various types of radiation therapy, stereotactic cranial and body irradiation, and sophisticated on-board computed tomography (CT) imaging systems. Each will also feature treatment tables that can be adjusted in “six degrees of freedom,” meaning that the system can detect and correct misalignments in patient positioning to ensure the very high accuracy required during radiation treatments. Of the current five linear accelerators now in the Cox Building, two will be moved to the Lunder Building.

“Patients typically have a treatment plan that involves a series of radiation treatments over time, up to 30 or 40 different days,” says Kathy Bruce, director of business development for Radiation Oncology. “The new linear accelerators at the Lunder Building will help ensure the highest possible accuracy from one treatment day to the next by comparing a daily CT image to a reference image produced in the planning stages. Furthermore, radiation oncologists will be able to evaluate changes in tumor size with serial CT scans, allowing for plan modification as the tumor shrinks over time.”

Continues Bruce, “When we move into the Lunder Building, we also will be introducing new treatment planning tools – systems that will advance our current treatment planning capabilities. These software tools comprise information systems, interactive graphics and the measured data of our treatment beams to help us generate a treatment plan that will provide a three-dimensional graphical analysis of the patient’s radiation dosage, including the dosage to non-targeted structures. We will be able to more efficiently optimize treatment plans with this software, which will be fully implemented by the time we move into the building.”

This summer, the radiation oncology treatment services currently located in the Cox Building will move to the Lunder Building. Prior to that, all staff members will have undergone extensive training and orientation to the space itself and the new equipment and systems tools. The department will continue to provide some services in the Cox Building, and patients will still visit the Cox Building for their initial CT-simulation planning visit.

“The radiation oncology staff will be providing the same exceptional, patient-focused care that we have for years, using treatment plans that are designed by our radiation oncology experts to reach the optimal outcome for each specific patient,” says Paciello. “But we will be delighted to provide that care in new, enhanced space. We look forward to an improved radiation oncology experience for our patients, staff and colleagues.”

For more information about the Lunder Building, access For more information about MGH Radiation Oncology, access

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