UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre Dedicated In Waterford, Ireland
PITTSBURGH, October 16, 2006 — Ireland’s prime minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, today joins officials from UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) to dedicate the UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre in Waterford, Ireland, that will provide cancer patients in Waterford and surrounding counties with state-of-the-art radiation therapy in a community-based setting close to home. The new center is the only facility for radiation therapy in Waterford and is the first international cancer center for UPMC, joining a network of 45 UPMC Cancer Centers in and around western Pennsylvania and California.
Prior to the development of the center, which will begin treating patients in November 2006, radiation therapy was unavailable locally to the Waterford community of almost 48,000 people. Waterford residents with cancer were required to travel to Cork, 80 miles south and west, or Dublin, 100 miles north, to receive treatment.
“The lack of radiation services in Waterford has created a dire situation for cancer patients in the region, forcing them to travel as many as 200 miles round-trip, five days per week during their course of treatment or to forego it altogether,” said Jeffrey Shogan, M.D., director of business services and chief business officer at UPMC Cancer Centers. “This situation has placed an enormous burden on patients who already are coping with the physical and emotional stress of cancer. By linking the UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre with our network of UPMC Cancer Centers, we are able to provide cost-effective and technologically advanced radiation therapy locally to the residents of Waterford.”
To develop the $6 million-equipped center, UPMC teamed up with Euro Care International, an Irish health care infrastructure development company headed by chairman and CEO, Dr. Jim Madden. The center is housed within the Whitfield Clinic, a private hospital developed by Euro Care to address the shortage of hospital beds and scarcity of medical resources in southeast Ireland.
The center is based on UPMC Cancer Centers’ hub-and-satellite model that links community-based satellite locations to a hub facility, the Hillman Cancer Center, in Pittsburgh, Pa., through a telecommunications network. The network allows highly trained medical physicists based at the Hillman to share information and expertise with radiation specialists at satellite centers when developing highly complex radiation treatment plans for individual patients.
“The opening of the Waterford center is another milestone in UPMC’s efforts to export our leading health care services around the globe,” said Chuck Bogosta, executive vice president of cancer services at UPMC Cancer Centers and UPMC’s Strategic Business Initiatives. “Along with our transplant center in Italy and our management of emergency medicine services in Qatar, the new radiation center in Ireland positions us as one of the few academic medical centers that is seamlessly applying its health care expertise far beyond its home base. This will improve care for patients around the world, while strengthening our renowned hospital system in Pennsylvania.”
The UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre will provide patients with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and PET/CT imaging. IMRT uses three-dimensional images to target radiation beams directly to a tumor, sparing nearby non-cancerous tissue from the effects of radiation. IGRT, the next phase of IMRT, adjusts for movement that occurs when a patient inhales and exhales at the time of treatment, making the delivery of radiation more accurate. PET/CT is a combined imaging technique used in conjunction with IMRT and IGRT to assist medical physicists with the development of radiation treatment plans by providing an image of the structural and metabolic makeup of a tumor. The PET/CT unit at the center is one of only four in Ireland.
The center in Waterford is one of two UPMC Cancer Centers planned for Ireland, with the other scheduled to open in Dublin in late November 2006.