Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Opens 2 New Regional Cancer Institutes, With 4 to Follow
The Allegheny Health Network (AHN) continues to grow with the creation of six new Cancer Institute locations in communities across western Pennsylvania. Made possible by a $300 million investment, these facilities will feature specialists from the AHN Cancer Institute’s world-class oncology team, who will care for cancer patients with the most advanced treatments and technologies available. By adding more expert care facilities closer to your home, AHN hopes to ease some of the anxiety that you and your loved ones may be facing in the battle against cancer.
State-of-the art institutes recently opened in Monroeville and Butler, boasting oncology experts who provide high-quality, collaborative care. The Beaver facility will open in May, and the Erie and Hempfield Cancer Institutes in the fall. In 2020, a new academic center at Allegheny General will open to consolidate the Allegheny Health Network’s presence as a leading oncological research center. This facility will include advancements in cancer treatment, including being the only cancer institute in the region, and one of only six in the United States, testing and researching the MR-Linac.* This breakthrough technology provides real-time images of a tumor as the linear accelerator emits radiation beams to the precise location of the cancer. The live images of the tumor allow the radiation to continually target the tumor, even as a patient breathes and moves.
Advance Cancer Care and Outcomes with Accelerating Progress
From first diagnosis, the AHN Cancer Institute provides expedited, personalized care for every patient, moving from diagnosis to treatment in as little as three days in most cases. No matter which AHN Cancer Institute location a patient visits, he or she has access to some of the most innovative treatments and technologies available today in the fight against cancer. Patients will benefit from advanced capabilities in radiation oncology, medical oncology and infusion therapy.
AHN uses Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy Therapy (SBRT), which accurately targets a tumor with high doses of radiation in fewer visits. Thanks to this precise targeting, SBRT allowed AHN doctors to shrink one patient’s liver tumor without affecting other organs so they could conduct a liver transplant. When a second tumor was discovered prior to the transplant, the medical team used trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) to target chemotherapy directly to the cancer.
Immunotherapy also targets cancer cells, inducing the body’s immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells. The therapy was recently used to treat Stage-4 lung cancer in an area patient. The patient enrolled in an immunotherapy trial as well as 30 chemo treatments. The trial’s success could be nothing short of revolutionary for a patient with a family history of lung cancer who was already at Stage 4, the cancer having spread to his back and hips. In addition to other treatment therapies, he credits immunotherapy with regaining his life. “My case is a glowing example of how far cancer treatment has come.”
AHN oncology teams were also among the first in America to introduce hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) to treat specific cases. When cancer cells were discovered in a pregnant patient’s appendix and peritoneum, her team delivered chemotherapy directly to the cancerous tissue without infiltrating the bloodstream. HIPEC allowed the AHN team to deliver a healthy baby and for the mother to nurse her newborn son.
AHN is also one of only a few cancer institutes in the country to offer CAR T-cell therapy. It’s an emerging treatment for aggressive blood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. CAR T-cell therapy involves taking blood from a patient and isolating the T-cells (disease-fighting immune cells). The T-cells are then sent to a lab where they are re-engineered into “fighter” cells. These cells are frozen, returned to the hospital, and infused back into the patient to begin attacking the cancer.
As these stories show, cancer treatment is ultimately about the patient. The AHN Cancer Institutes have created an exceptional collaboration with patients. Every patient receives a personal Nurse Navigator, a medical professional who coordinates care, financial counseling and guidance throughout the entire treatment process. The Navigation Program creates a team of highly trained individuals who share the specific goal of making a patient’s therapy as seamless, information-rich and comfortable as possible.
The unveiling of six new facilities will increase convenience and comfort for each patient. The Navigation Team takes care of all logistical challenges, so patients and their families can focus on their care. The team lends a collective ear and explains the “what and why” of treatment, while prioritizing the patient’s overall health and well-being. It’s the embodiment of patient-centered care.
With the benefits of the latest research and a holistic approach, each patient receives an individually tailored program at AHN. The new AHN Cancer Institute facilities in Monroeville, Butler, Beaver, Erie and Hempfield increase accessibility for many patients, but because cancer doesn’t follow a schedule, AHN also maintains an after-hours clinic and the 24/7 AHN Cancer Help Line to assist with pain management, listen to concerns and answer questions. The Help Line is available for any patient at any time, regardless of healthcare provider or insurance plan.
From gene therapy research to personal Nurse Navigators, genetic and nutritional counseling to rehabilitation, the AHN Cancer Institute offers comprehensive cancer treatment at more than 20 locations. Visit the Allegheny Health Network website to learn more about the five new regional Cancer Institute facilities, the academic center and other exciting developments. For appointments, call 412-DOCTORS or visit ahn.org/cancer.
*Elekta Unity is pending 510(k) premarket clearance and not available for commercial distribution or sale in the U.S.