Cutting edge: latest technologies and therapies available from Indiana health-care providers.

Author:Held, Shari

MANY OF INDIANA'S hospitals rate high in patient care, but that doesn't mean they stop and rest on their laurels. Here is a look at hospitals around the state and what they are implementing for continued improvement.

Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indianapolis.

Scheduled to open in October 2008, the IU Simon Cancer Center will bring all components for inpatient and outpatient cancer programs together in one building--medical oncology, hematology, surgical oncology, imaging, radiation oncology and support programs--and most departments will be expanded. The new center is the result of a partnership between the Indiana University School of Medicine and Clarian Health.

"This could not happen without that partnership," says Fuad Hammoudeh, IU Simon Cancer Center administrator, who also serves as administrator of Clarian cancer programs and administrator of the division of hematology/oncology with the IU School of Medicine.

New technology for the center will include the latest in imaging and treatment equipment, including Trilogy, the world's first image-guided radiation therapy system that works with both conventional and stereotactic approaches to treating cancer. Its onboard imaging helps physicians target tumors during therapies or treatments and gives them the option to use stereotactic radiosurgery, which is delivered in a singe treatment, or stereotactic radiotherapy, in which several treatments are delivered over the course of several days.

Hammoudeh says the new center will make receiving cancer services "seamless" for patients. "Probably the most important thing we can provide the patients here is the ability to see multiple specialists in a very short period of time, from the time they are diagnosed to when their treatment begins. A study shows that breast cancer patients don't start treatment for multiple weeks because they have to go from physician to physician and location to location. With a multidisciplinary approach like we have here, we can shorten this time to a week. The anxiety on the patient and family members or caregivers is much reduced, and we can initiate treatment a lot sooner."

The new facility will also allow the center to recruit the best faculty and scientists available to participate in groundbreaking cancer research. Currently the center has 200 investigators. In 2006 it received $11.5 million from the National Cancer Institute and $32.5 million from the

National Institutes of Health. It partners with the Hoosier Oncology Group to share clinical research information with community physicians statewide, and even interacts with physicians outside the state of Indiana.

"Clarian, the IU Simon Cancer Center and the School [of Medicine] are committed to making this statewide," Hammoudeh says. "The majority of our patients come from the state of Indiana. So, by no means is this just a Marion County and surrounding county phenomenon. It is a service for the whole...

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