Carolinas HealthCare System Levine Cancer Institute Opens Regions First BMT Unit

Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute opened the region’s first adult blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) unit. This state-of-the-art unit is part of the Institute’s expanding hematologic oncology program, which includes a team of internationally recognized experts who specialize in leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, transplantation and non-malignant hematologic disorders.

“This new space was designed to meet the needs of transplant patients and their families, while providing the most advanced technologies and treatment,” said Dr. Edward Copelan, chair of the Department of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders. “Instead of having to travel nearly three hours to receive care at other hospitals with similar services, these patients now have access to life-saving treatments provided by some of the most highly regarded physicians in the world right here in Charlotte.”

The unit will include 16 specialized rooms, an apheresis unit for the collection of donor cells for patients, and a cell processing lab located on the fourth floor of Carolinas Medical Center. The entire unit is a positive pressure environment, where highly filtered air is circulated 12 times an hour, exceeding industry standards. This minimizes the risk of patients developing infection and experiencing other complications that can be associated with the transplant process.

Because treatment and recovery can last up to six weeks, the unit also includes several features supporting the patient’s overall well-being including an exercise room, larger patient rooms to accommodate family members, a family locker room and laundry room.

The program’s expansion will also facilitate the development of new research at the Institute. Over the past four months, eight new clinical trials for blood cancers have opened, and seven more are slated to open by the end of February. By the end of 2014, the Institute is expected to be one of the leading enrolling sites for blood cancer clinical trials in the country. Dr. Copelan and Dr. Belinda Avalos, vice-chair of the Department of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders at the Institute, recently published a study that was accepted into Blood, the nation’s leading hematology-oncology journal, which followed more than 1,000 bone marrow transplant cases to compare the effectiveness of two treatments options for patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

“Our entire hematologic-oncology program is expanding to meet the increased needs of all blood cancer patients, through participation in national clinical research studies that test novel technologies and treatments,” Dr. Avalos said. “The ability for patients to access clinical trials and receive world-class care without having to travel far from their homes or families exemplifies the goals and mission of Levine Cancer Institute.”

About Levine Cancer Institute Levine Cancer Institute (www.levinecancerinstitute.org) is changing the course of cancer care by removing the barriers that separate patients from access to world-class research and breakthrough treatments. Through the latest advances in technology and by building upon Carolinas HealthCare System’s strong network of affiliated hospitals and providers, the Institute is able to deliver innovative, value-driven protocols when they are needed most – so where a patient lives will not determine how they fight cancer.

About Carolinas HealthCare System Carolinas HealthCare System (www.carolinashealthcare.org), one of the nation’s leading and most innovative healthcare organizations, provides a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness programs throughout North and South Carolina. Its diverse network of more than 650 care locations includes academic medical centers, hospitals, healthcare pavilions, physician practices, destination centers, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes, behavioral health centers, and hospice and palliative care. CHS works to improve and enhance the overall health and wellbeing of its communities through high quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative partnerships and initiatives.

About Robins & Morton
Founded in 1946, Robins & Morton is a privately held engineering and construction company that consistently ranks among the 100 largest U.S. contractors in Engineering News-Record Magazine. The company has also been named one of the best mid-sized companies to work for in America because of its worker-friendly and family-friendly practices. Robins & Morton has been building in the Carolinas for more than 20 years, forming long term relationships with numerous clients and is proud to work with Carolinas Healthcare System. Robins & Morton has offices in Birmingham, AL; Charlotte, NC; Dallas, TX; Huntsville, AL; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL and Raleigh-Durham, NC.  www.robinsmorton.com.