UM to buy $10 million in cancer radiation gear

May 28, 1994|By From Staff Reports

Looking toward the opening of its nine-story Homer Gudelsky Tower, the University of Maryland Medical Center has agreed to purchase $10 million in radiation equipment that will upgrade the speed and precision of treatments given to cancer patients.

One new system will provide a three-dimensional view of a tumor, allowing doctors to tailor the delivery of radiation beams to the unique shape and size of each tumor they seek to kill.

Another new system permits doctors to view the tumor and surrounding tissue as the radiation is delivered. A third gives doctors the ability to give radiation treatments while a patient's organs are exposed during surgery.

This may prove valuable if surgeons discover that they are unable to remove every bit of cancerous tissue. In such cases, the incision would be closed temporarily and the patient moved to another room. Then the incision would be reopened and a radiation dose aimed directly at the cancer.

"This is probably the largest purchase of equipment in a single department this institution has ever had," said Dr. Omar M. Salazar, chairman of radiation oncology. He said the department chose the equipment to be purchased after five years of study.

The manufacturer, Philips Medical Systems North America of Sheldon, Conn., will begin to deliver the equipment next January. The machinery should be fully operational by the end of 1995.

"We're trying to bring the technology into this place that will allow us to move into the 21st century," Dr. Salazar said.

Images will be digitalized -- eliminating the need for film -- and the machines will be in a network so information can be transferred electronically from one device to the next.

The Gudelsky Tower, a 187-bed facility under construction at Lombard and Greene streets, will house the university's cancer center, radiation oncology, transplant surgery, the heart program, neurology and neurosurgery. Sixty percent of the building will be dedicated to cancer treatment.

In October, neurology and neurosurgery will be the first sections to open. Other departments will be phased in this year and in 1995.

Also included in the purchase price is equipment for the Central Maryland Oncology Center, a cancer treatment facility under construction next to Howard County General Hospital in Columbia.

The free-standing center will be operated independently by radiation oncologists from the University of Maryland Medical Center and medical oncologists from Howard County General. Equipment will be delivered to that site in September.

Philips Medical Systems North America is a subsidiary of N.V. Philips of the Netherlands, the giant electronics firm.

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