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Norton receives approval for cancer center

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By The Staff

Norton Healthcare received approval in April from the Kentucky Certificate of Need Division to build a 14,400-square-foot, $9.7 million cancer radiation center on its downtown campus. The center will feature technology to provide radiation therapy treatments for adult and pediatric tumors. It will primarily serve patients in Jefferson County along with those in Nelson, Hardin, Bullitt, Oldham and surrounding counties in Kentucky, along with patients in several Southern Indiana counties, including those in Clark, Floyd, Harrison and Scott.Plans call for the center, part of Norton Cancer Institute, to be built on the northwest corner of Floyd and Broadway streets. Subject to approvals by all appropriate city governmental entities, the center will require the removal of two existing facilities: a 5,000-square-foot building at 233 E. Broadway St. that houses the Norton Healthcare corporate human resources function, and a vacant 12,400-square-foot building just west of the 233 building at 223 E. Broadway. Construction will begin around September, with the one-story radiation center opening in the fourth quarter of 2009.Norton Healthcare filed the Certificate of Need application for the radiation center in November. Other key aspects of the announcement include:• The center will include a $3 million linear accelerator from Varian Medical Systems, the world’s leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions, in addition to other technology. Norton Cancer Institute’s new Varian linear accelerator will incorporate the Novalis Tx Stereotactic Radiosurgery System along with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy and Image Guided Radiation Therapy capabilities. The technology will allow Norton Cancer Institute to offer faster, more precise, more powerful and more comfortable radiation therapy treatments for its patients, with the ability to treat deep-seated tumors more effectively while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. This new technology, developed by Varian and BrainLAB, will allow Norton Cancer Institute-affiliated neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to jointly plan the most aggressive and effective treatment for brain tumors. Also, because of the equipment’s advanced capabilities, the new technology will dramatically reduce treatment times, adding to patient comfort and convenience. Among the handful of health care organizations to have the Novalis system operational, the closest to Louisville is the Duke University School of Medicine.• The center will treat malignant cancers and certain non-malignant tumors, including brain, lung, breast, prostate, colorectal, stomach, pancreatic, kidney and others. The center expands Norton’s capabilities to treat pediatric cancers, and Norton will add a radiation oncologist with specialized training in pediatric oncology. Aaron Spalding, M.D., will train at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital before joining Norton Cancer Institute in January. The pediatric section of the new center has been modeled after St. Jude’s new radiation center, with input from its radiation oncologists.• The center will include an outdoor meditation garden, a quiet area for patients, family and staff to meditate and enjoy the outdoors while staying close to treatment areas.• The radiation center will be connected by pedway to the pedway system serving the entire Norton Healthcare downtown campus, including patients and families at Norton Hospital, Kosair Children’s Hospital and the Norton Healthcare Pavilion.• The center will have the capacity to eventually expand to five floors to meet growing health care needs for cancer or other areas of need. The overall facility architect is Karlsberger, a nationally recognized health care architecture firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Architection of Louisville, a national leader in the design and construction of radiation and medical oncology facilities, will design the radiation center. The construction manager has not yet been selected.The need for the new radiation centerThe center’s primary service area has cancer incidence and death rates that are above the Kentucky state averages and significantly above the national averages. It will provide radiation therapy services for patients of Norton Hospital, Kosair Children’s Hospital and Norton Cancer Institute-affiliated physicians, among others, and will complement the chemotherapy services available on the downtown campus and the radiation therapy services available at Norton Suburban Hospital. The need for radiation therapy services in the center’s service area is expected to increase by at least 8 percent per year over the next several years.“Sophisticated radiation therapy services are a vital tool in the fight against cancer,” said Don A. Stevens, M.D., medical director of Norton Cancer Institute. “Our ability to bring this state-of-the-art technology to Norton’s downtown campus will have a life-changing impact for adult and pediatric patients and their families. It complements the existing sophisticated radiation therapy services we currently offer on the Norton Suburban Hospital campus.”