Anne-Marije Rook
The TomoTherapy® Hi-Art® system is the centerpiece of the new Radiation Treatment Center on the Ballard campus on Swedish Cancer Institute

Swedish to treat first patients in its new radiation treatment center on Monday

The Swedish Cancer Institute will start treating patients in its brand new TomoTherapy Radiation Treatment Center on the Ballard campus on Monday.

The centerpiece of the new community-based radiation treatment center is the TomoTherapy® Hi-Art® system, the first in the Seattle metropolitan area. TomoTherapy 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.

“It’s the Ferrari of radiation machines,” said Daniel Landis, M.D., Ph.D., SCI radiation oncologist and lead physician at the new center.

“It’s designed to treat complex tumor targets and it’s more versatile.”

Dr. Landis said he’s pleased to be able to offer the latest technology to his patients.

“We now have all the different technology options for radiations which means we can give our patients many options,” Dr. Landis said.

“One thing I like about this field is that you see patients at such a critical part of their life. Plus, I’ve always been interested in the technology. This is an amazing non-invasive tool to have. There’s no cutting and radiation has proven to increase the cure rate.”

Treatment with a TomoTherapy system painless and lasts about 10 to 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. The system can treat multiple affected areas simultaneously which helps reduce the session time.

The team of experts has been running tests and quality assurance runs and everything has been going really well, said Dr. Landis.

“There has been a lot of criticism in the news about radiation and radiation mistakes but at Swedish we’ve never had a misadministration,” he said.

The TomoTherapy system is located in a room titled “the vault” as it can be sealed by an 18,000-pound-door. The walls and ceiling are made up of steel plates and filled with sand from Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel company.

“This prevents radiation leakage to anyone in the building,” Dr. Landis said.

The 4,000 square-foot facility that houses the vault is a modular, energy-efficient LEED certified design. The heat generated by the TomoTherapy machine is used to warm the building and the center is also the first of the Swedish clinic to be paper-free.

Altogether, Swedish will invest more than $4 million in the new radiation treatment center, the Hi-Art unit and support services and equipment.

“We’ve been concentrating on revitalizing this campus to provide more comprehensive care to our patients in the Ballard area,” said Jennifer Graves, Swedish nurse executive.

“Patients are usually coming in for a series of sessions and it’s important for people to be able to receive treatment close to home in a welcoming setting, instead of having to drive downtown for treatment.” 

Landis said they can treat about 20 patients a day starting on Monday, January 31st.

For more information about the Swedish Cancer Institute Radiation Treatment Center or TomoTherapy, visit www.swedish.org, www.tomotherapy.com or call 206-386-6707.

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