The New James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
A 21st-century facility for collaborative, subspecialized and precision cancer care
On Sunday, Dec. 14, 500 volunteers joined physicians, nurses and staff at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) to make Ohio State history.
That day, the group followed a well-coordinated process of transferring 182 patients from the original 12-story Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, which opened in July 1990, to the new 21-story, state-of-the-art James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
The $750 million, 1.1-million-square-foot, 306-bed hospital —which officially opened the following day—is the third-largest cancer hospital in the United States and among the most well-designed in the world.
“This is a carefully planned facility, specially designed to integrate our three-part mission of patient care, research and education,” says Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, director of The OSUCCC and CEO of The James.
“We’ve created a highly collaborative, subspecialized cancer-care environment.” Standout features of the new James include 14 state-of-the-art operating rooms, six interventional radiology suites, an above-ground radiation oncology center containing seven linear accelerators for radiation therapy, and a dedicated early-phase clinical trials unit.
To facilitate translational research, a wet and a dry laboratory is located on alternating patient floors. “We believe this proximity of bench to bedside is unique in the United States, and we’re really proud of that,” Caligiuri says.
Precision Cancer Medicine
Each inpatient unit has its own cancer focus—such as gastrointestinal, head and neck, breast, genitourinary and hematologic malignancies. The oncologists, nurses, pharmacists and genomic experts on each unit treat just that type of cancer, collaborating with researchers to look at each patient’s genes and tumor DNA to determine the best treatment and help speed research discoveries.
This approach, called precision cancer medicine, uses next-generation sequencing and other high-throughput technologies to identify the gene and molecular changes that drive a patient’s malignancy or increase the risk of recurrence or resistance to therapy.
“Next-generation sequencing can identify which of 200-plus significant genes are altered in a patient’s cancer, and we can use that information to guide therapy or match patients to clinical trials,” says Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD, director of precision cancer medicine at the OSUCCC – James. “Ohio State is among the leaders in the country in promoting and championing precision oncology.”
The new hospital further integrates precision cancer medicine into patient care at the OSUCCC – James, applying it to a growing number of malignancies.
Radiation Oncology Center
The hospital’s custom-designed radiation oncology center features seven linear accelerators and one brachytherapy vault. Top radiation oncologists and radiation oncology researchers at the center specialize in specific types of cancer, says Arnab Chakravarti, MD, professor and chair of Radiation Oncology and co-director of the Brain Tumor Program.
Importantly, the center’s second-floor location distinguishes it from most others worldwide and provides soothing natural light to promote patient healing and comfort.
“We do have the latest and best equipment,” says Chakravarti, who holds the Max Morehouse Chair in Cancer Research and helped design the center. “But it’s really the physicians, therapists, nurses and staff who make this a special place.”
A Standout Surgical Suite
The expansive new OSUCCC – James surgical suite features advanced technology and a forward-thinking design. The 14 operating rooms, including six interventional operating suites, are each equipped to perform minimally invasive robotic surgery and state-of-the-art microvascular reconstructive surgery. They were built intentionally large to accommodate future technology and equipment, says Raphael E. Pollock, MD, PhD, director of Ohio State’s Division of Surgical Oncology and chief of surgical services at the OSUCCC – James.
Equipment and electrical outlets are secured to the ceilings of each operating room, a feature that dramatically increases usable floor space.
Two of the surgical suites are connected to a 3-Tesla MRI machine, allowing patients to be imaged during surgery.
An Active Clinical Trials Unit
As one of a few cancer centers in the nation funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials of NCI-sponsored anticancer agents, the OSUCCC – James has a well-established and experienced clinical trials program. One in four OSUCCC – James patients is enrolled in a clinical trial, a rate five times greater than the national average (which, historically, has been 5 percent or less).
The new hospital will broaden the clinical trial program’s reach and expand patients’ access to it. The new James Clinical Trials Unit will eventually oversee hundreds of cancer clinical trials.
A Fully Integrated Cancer Emergency Department
Once home, cancer patients can develop acute medical conditions due to acquired infections, the side effects of therapy or other causes. These cases can require emergency care and present a clinical challenge.
The new OSUCCC – James addresses this problem with a fully integrated cancer emergency department, to open in March 2015. The department will bring together emergency medicine specialist
and clinical oncologists to provide optimal care for cancer patients in crisis. The cancer emergency room will feature 15 treatment stations staffed by teams of emergency medical and cancer specialists, as well as highly trained nursing teams.
An Advanced BMT Unit and Lab
The new James incorporates a 36-bed blood and marrow transplant unit supported by a cell therapy laboratory that meets good-manufacturing standards. Located on the hospital’s 14th floor, the unit features large windows that provide patient rooms and common areas with abundant natural light.
Steven Devine, MD, director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, notes that these and other design elements can accelerate patient-recovery times and increase patients’ sense of well-being.
Facilitating Clinical Care
Enhancing that sense of well-being, a patient’s electronic medical records are available at the bedside. Known as MyChart Bedside, the bedside medical records result in faster documentation, fewer errors and seamless sharing by members of the medical team. Patients and family members can see names and photos of their doctors, primary nurse and other key care-team members, along with test results, and they can ask non-urgent questions and schedule future appointments.
Each inpatient floor has a pharmacist who is part of the care team (oncology pharmacists also staff the first-floor cancer specialty pharmacy), and patient medications carry barcodes that clinicians wirelessly scan prior to dispensing at bedside, to ensure accuracy.
All inpatient rooms in the new hospital are private, spacious, admit comforting natural light and have identical layouts to enhance patient safety. A fold-out bed allows overnight stays by loved ones, and the bathroom includes a full shower. Patients enjoy personalized nutrition through dining-on-demand service.
Added features on every floor include lounges, private consultation rooms, Wi-Fi, TVs, computer terminals and respite areas. Patients, visitors and staff can enjoy outdoor cafes and terrace gardens on the 14th floor, where plantings include vegetables that OSUCCC – James research has shown have cancer-preventive properties.
“We put a lot of thought into planning the new James,” Caligiuri says. “This integration of patients, researchers, clinicians, students and visitors is truly inspiring, and we believe it sets a model for 21st-century cancer care.”