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Expanded Radiation Oncology Building Brings Latest Radiation Treatment to Cancer Fight

Advancing cancer care, UT Southwestern Medical Center recently opened a new addition to Radiation Oncology services. With more than 71,000 square feet, the expansion includes more patient care spaces, innovative technology, and the latest approach to radiation treatment.

Called adaptive therapy, the new technique represents a paradigm shift for radiation oncology. Patients are scanned before treatment using real-time, high-resolution medical imaging. This allows technicians to update the treatment plan based on the patient’s anatomy and tumor size on the day of treatment instead of using images that can be weeks old. The up-to-date imaging is combined with additional sensors to guide treatment, allowing health care professionals to precisely target the delivery of radiation and adjust to minor movements such as breathing.

Bringing the combined space of UT Southwestern’s Radiation Oncology facility to more than 130,000 square feet, the expansion houses an array of machines that enable health care professionals to treat a wide range of cancers at one convenient location. In addition to more than a dozen advanced imaging/treatment machines that include a brachytherapy suite, Xstrahl treatment machine, and a GammaPod treatment machine for treating breast cancer, the building adds exam rooms, patient support rooms, two children’s areas, and a cafeteria.

Radiation Oncology is part of UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center – one of 51 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute that is nationally ranked among the top 25 cancer programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Photo of Radiation Oncology Lobby, reception desk, waiting area and front doorway with woman walking in

Design that matters

The main lobby of the Radiation Oncology building continues UT Southwestern’s commitment to patient-centered design. Visitors are welcomed with ample natural light and an experience that streamlines their arrival as they move through valet parking and reception to their appointment.

Photo of large hexagonal Ethos Radiation Oncology machine with male technician standing to the left

Tailor-made therapy

New equipment that delivers on the facility’s focus on adaptive treatment includes two Ethos machines (left) that enable technicians to scan patients each time they come for treatment using cone beam computed tomography, a kind of medical imaging that uses X-rays to visualize the inside of the body. Technicians review the images for changes in the patient’s anatomy and, with the help of artificial intelligence, create an adapted treatment plan to deliver that day’s dose based on the physician’s intent.

Equipped with a robotic arm with six degrees of motion, the Accuray Cyberknife (above) enables physicians to precisely perform radiosurgery or deliver radiation therapy from the most effective angle. Sensors on the floor, overhead, and in the treatment couch monitor the patient’s position and synchronize treatment to breathing and other small movements.

Photo of a man in lab coat with remote control using the Radiation Oncology machine
Photo of a brown-haired woman in lab coat operating touch screen on wall of radiology lab

Within reach

At check-in, patients receive a wristband that integrates with the building’s real-time location system, allowing health care professionals to monitor each patient’s location and see how they are progressing through their visit using secure touch panels located throughout the building. UT Southwestern developed the unique system to improve patient safety and optimize scheduling.

Photo of a Radiation Oncology seating area with table and several colorful computer tablets

For patients big and small

Waiting areas inside the building include spaces designed for children that feature tablet computers for interactive entertainment and learning.

overhead photo of a female doctor and female patient talking in an examination room

Making room

The expanded Radiation Oncology building boasts 49 additional exam rooms, adding to UT Southwestern’s capacity to treat patients from across North Texas and beyond.