NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, a member of Ascension Health, today announced the opening of its proprietary Unity System, the first fully-integrated neurosurgical center of its kind in the United States for the treatment of brain tumors.
“The Unity System will allow us to provide a better quality of life for brain tumor patients and their families – and means a dramatic improvement in their chances to thrive.”
The Unity System includes a unique arrangement of leading edge technologies – Brainlab Brainsuite®, VISIUS Surgical Theatre™ by IMRIS with intraoperative MRI and TrueBeam™ STx with Novalis® Radiosurgery – paired with real time collaboration of medical experts to care for patients with brain tumors.
“The Unity System is going to revolutionize the way we treat brain tumors,” said Dr. Steven Abram, neurosurgeon and co-medical director of the Saint Thomas Brain and Spine Tumor Center. “Saint Thomas Hospital will become a national destination for the treatment of brain tumors. This new system provides a comprehensive approach to cancer care – not only through collaboration with other clinicians but also through the most advanced technologies.”
A multi-million dollar investment, the Unity System builds upon Saint Thomas Hospital’s unique foundation of seamless physician collaboration with all new surgical, imaging and radiation equipment that enables the physicians to work collaboratively in real-time to determine the optimal treatment for each patient.
“While brain tumors impact a small percentage of the population, this disease has a dramatic effect on patients, their well-being and their families,” said Dr. Paul Rosenblatt, chief of radiation oncology at Saint Thomas Hospital and co-medical director of the Saint Thomas Brain and Spine Tumor Center. “The Unity System will allow us to provide a better quality of life for brain tumor patients and their families – and means a dramatic improvement in their chances to thrive.”
Saint Thomas Hospital’s Brain Tumor Group, a team of 15 clinicians that includes neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists, meets weekly to discuss each brain tumor patient’s case from a proactive prospective, and not retrospectively, allowing for more efficient care coordination and better patient consultation.
The multidisciplinary team of clinicians now has access to the Unity System’s grouping of technologies, including:
Brainsuite/VISIUS Surgical Theatre: This hybrid neurosurgical
operating room, which combines technologies from Brainlab and IMRIS,
includes the latest imaging and audio-video capabilities so that, in
effect, all clinicians can be brought into the OR in real time. The
revolutionary surgical environment combines:
- Surgical Planning & Navigation – The Suite also includes computer assisted pre-surgical planning with multimodal functional brain mapping and surgical navigation integration, which together helps to preserve eloquent brain tissue and minimize risks.
- Intraoperative MR Imaging – This imaging equipment can be brought into the operating room, allowing the surgeon to take high resolution images during the surgery for more thorough brain tumor removal. It isn’t uncommon for brain tissue to move during a procedure so technology that obtains new images in a matter of minutes can help eliminate the need for re-operation and injury to key brain functions. Saint Thomas Hospital is among the nation’s first hospitals to utilize IMRIS’ iMRI in the neurosurgical setting for adult patients.
- TrueBeam STx with Novalis Radiosurgery: Novalis Radiosurgery has the potential to treat more patients with its highly precise dose and advanced integration of clinically proven tools. Saint Thomas Hospital is one of first hospitals worldwide to utilize TrueBeam STx, powered by Novalis Radiosurgery, which offers real time feedback of the targeted tumor that is achieved by using dynamic X-ray imaging throughout the procedure.
"The Unity System allows the team at Saint Thomas Hospital to manage patients using an interdisciplinary approach. The way in which Brainlab technology facilitates this collaborative approach will become the model that other hospitals adopt," said Stefan Vilsmeier, president and CEO of Brainlab. "The real game changer here is the ability to capture images during surgery which can then be processed and leveraged in critical decision-making for the well-being of the patient. It's offering a new level of precision in brain tumor removal that wasn't possible before. The entire team is involved and can fine-tune the surgical plan together, helping to better preserve the patient's eloquent, or functional, brain tissue."
The Unity System will also help treat a number of medical conditions, including malignant and benign neoplasms of the brain, spine and central nervous system, cerebrovascular disorders and abnormalities, central nervous system and cranial nerve abnormalities and disorders. Brain cancer is diagnosed in about 200,000 patients per year in the United States with approximately 40,000 being primary brain cancer.
Saint Thomas Hospital has a tradition of excellence in bringing the most advanced equipment and services to brain tumor treatment. In 2003, Saint Thomas Hospital was the first hospital in Tennessee to have the Brainlab Vector Vision® surgical neuro-navigation system. That same year, the hospital was also the first in the state to purchase the Novalis® Shaped Beam Surgery™ System, which allows for precise radiation therapy and radiosurgery. In 2009, the hospital added iPlan® FiberTracking by Brainlab, which allows for very detailed surgical planning and protection of eloquent white matter in the brain. Last year, it was also the first center in the Southeast to begin enrolling patients in a new late-stage clinical trial for the treatment of one of the most lethal and aggressive forms for brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, using personalized cancer vaccine.
“Last year, Saint Thomas Hospital’s experts reviewed more than 500 brain tumor cases, making us a leading brain tumor treatment site regionally and nationally,” said Dawn Rudolph, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Hospital. “We’re dedicated to fostering physician innovation and the highest level of quality care to provide groundbreaking treatments for our patients.”
The Unity System is Saint Thomas Hospital’s proprietary program for treating brain tumors and was named such because Unity is symbolic of the collaborative approach between physicians and technology. The Brainsuite/VISIUS Surgical Theatre and the Intraoperative MRI are currently available to patients while the TrueBeam™ STx with Novalis Radiosurgery will be available to patients April 17. For more information on the Unity System, visit www.stthomas.org/UNITY, call (615) 222-STNI (7864) or email Unity@stthomas.org.
About Saint Thomas Hospital
Saint Thomas Hospital is a member of Saint Thomas Health, Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system with more than 6,500 associates. Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the health care experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes – Baptist Hospital, Saint Thomas Hospital and The Hospital for Spinal Surgery in Nashville, Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro and Hickman Community Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, the largest Catholic, not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit www.stthomas.org or www.sths.com.