Second Floor Radiation Oncology

The OSUCCC – James Department of Radiation Oncology will occupy the second floor of the new James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute when construction is complete.

In this issue of Frontiers, Arnab Chakravarti, MD, chair of Radiation Oncology, and a group of OSUCCC – James investigators were photographed in the unfinished second-floor space, in one of seven “vaults” that will house linear accelerators (linacs).

A second-floor perch is unusual for a radiation therapy department – most such facilities are located below ground – but when it opens in 2014, its windows will allow natural daylight to enter from the north and south, providing a more cheerful treatment environment. Twenty-four patient exam rooms are designed to make visits as comfortable and convenient as possible for patients.

Adding the Radiation Oncology department to the new hospital was made possible by a $100 million competitive grant awarded to Ohio State by the federal Health Resources Services Administration.

The Radiation Oncology area is also equipped with computerized tomography (CT), positron emission tomography/CT and magnetic resonance imaging. Each imaging modality has particular advantages and is used to simulate and customize radiation treatment for each patient. Integrating these imaging modalities with treatment delivery by the most technologically advanced linear accelerators will result in the best care possible for patients treated at the OSUCCC – James.

Facts About the Second Floor and the Linac Vaults

At 27 million pounds, the second floor is the heaviest component of the building. It required redesigning the building’s foundation and structure and adding 263 concrete piles to support the weight, and additional and heavier-gauge columns had to be incorporated into the structural support.

  • The department’s seven linacs each weigh 65,000 pounds.
  • The vaults that contain the linacs are built of specialized concrete, steel and lead to contain the radiation.
  • The vaults’ floors and ceilings are about five feet thick and constructed of concrete that includes 8.2 million pounds of a special high-density aggregate made of hematite mined in South Africa and supplemented by lead shot.
  • The walls are about two feet thick and made of a proprietary high-density brick (visible in the photograph on page 24). About 139,000 of the bricks, totaling 5.1 million pounds, were used to shield the walls of the seven linacs, a brachytherapy suite (a specialized operating room for delivering localized high-dose radiation), and an operating room on the fourth floor that offers intraoperative radiation therapy.

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