Tampa General Hospital Cancer Institute Expands Its Radiation Oncology ProgramPublished: Jan 13, 2023
The expansion of radiation oncology services is part of TGH Cancer Institute’s vision of improving health through innovative technologies, compassion and multidisciplinary cancer care for all.
Tampa, FL (Jan. 13, 2023) – As part of its commitment to offering the most advanced technology for cancer treatment, the Cancer Institute at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) announced today that it is expanding its Radiation Oncology program to include the addition of new cancer treatment technology and enhanced locations under the direction of world-renowned physicians. Additionally, to continue expanding access to cancer treatment, Tampa General Hospital and the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) are working in a collaborative partnership to build the first proton therapy center in the Tampa Bay region.
“Establishing a world-class cancer institute at one of the country’s leading academic medical centers comes down to its people and innovative technologies and science. In radiation oncology, under the leadership of Dr. Richard Tuli, we have recruited a cadre of physicians and physicists from premier academic institutions. This experienced team, along with our investment in state-of-the-art technologies such as proton therapy and in clinical trials, is well-poised to transform the radiation oncology field in our region and beyond,” said Dr. Eduardo M. Sotomayor, director of the TGH Cancer Institute.
“As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, we are focused on driving innovation to deliver world-class, advanced treatment options to the Tampa Bay region and beyond,” said Dr. Abraham Schwarzberg, executive vice president of Network Development and chief of the TGH Cancer Institute. “Our Radiation Oncology enhancements, including our collaborative partnership to develop Tampa’s first proton therapy center, is an example of initiatives that bring the most advanced resources to our patients."
TGH Radiation Oncology Program
The TGH Cancer Institute’s expanded Radiation Oncology platform offers a full complement of radiation oncology services to treat all types of cancers, offering evidence-based, multidisciplinary care incorporating cutting-edge radiation therapies such as the CyberKnife System®, the TrueBeam™ system, high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy and radiopharmaceuticals, among others.
“The expansion of the TGH Radiation Oncology program represents TGH Cancer Institute’s latest investment in providing world-class care by leveraging technology to improve diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes,” said Tuli, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, deputy director of the TGH Cancer Institute, and director of Radiation Oncology at Tampa General Hospital. Tuli joined TGH from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y.
The TrueBeam system, available within the TGH Cancer Institute, is an advanced medical linear accelerator capable of fast and precise image-guided radiation therapy. “Our linear accelerator machine dramatically decreases treatment time from 30 minutes to two minutes while maintaining accuracy, precision and safety through enhanced low-dose imaging and motion compensation,” Tuli said. Additionally, the CyberKnife S7 radiosurgery system — a non-invasive alternative to surgical treatment for cancerous and non-cancerous tumors — will be installed at the TGH Cancer Institute on the main TGH campus in summer 2023.
HDR brachytherapy is a highly specialized cancer treatment and involves careful and temporary placement of radioactive material inside the body in direct contact with tumors. This allows much higher doses of radiation to be delivered safely compared to external radiation by lowering dosages to the surrounding normal tissues and organs. This highly effective treatment can often be delivered in one to three treatments.
Proton Therapy Center
Through the collaborative partnership with FCS, plans call for the proton therapy center to be located in the academic medical center’s Medical and Research District adjacent to downtown Tampa and in a highly specialized and comprehensive three-story, 44,000-square-foot building at the intersection of W. Kennedy Boulevard and S. Fielding Avenue.
“Through our partnership, we will have the opportunity to treat our patients with the most advanced form of cancer-fighting technology available to date,” Tuli said. “Proton therapy is a highly innovative and precise form of radiation treatment, which can be ideal when a cancerous tumor is close to a vital organ such as the heart, brain stem or the spinal cord.” It has been proven to be an effective and recommended therapy in treating a wide range of adult tumors, both cancerous and benign.
Radiation Oncology Physician-Scientists
Alongside Tuli, TGH Cancer Institute’s radiation oncologists combine their medical expertise with the use of state-of-the-art technology to deliver the best outcomes for patients.
Dr. Brian T. Collins is a professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and director of the Radiosurgery Program at TGH. He specializes in cutting-edge radiation techniques and tools and is a world-renowned expert in CyberKnife radiotherapy technology. Prior to joining Tampa General Hospital, he served as the Chief of the Department of Radiation Medicine and director of both the Proton Therapy Center and ZAP-X radiosurgery center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. Collins is a frequent contributor to scientific publications, books and journals in his areas of expertise.
Dr. John David is an assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, director of Brachytherapy Services and lead physician of Radiopharmaceuticals at Tampa General Hospital. Prior to joining TGH, David worked alongside physicians at the New York Proton Center, where he gained experience in proton therapy. He completed his residency training at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
Dr. Alexander Engelman, medical director of radiation oncology at Florida Urology Partners and a radiation oncologist with TGH Cancer Institute, is an expert in the research and treatment of genitourinary cancers. He was the first physician in the United States to perform a Barrigel procedure, which is an injectable, flexible, biodegradable material that provides a barrier between the prostate and rectum to protect the healthy tissue during radiation therapy treatment for prostate cancer. For his residency training, Engelman attended the University of Maryland Medical Center, and the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, Baltimore, with additional time at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.
TGH Cancer Institute Expansion
To help make cancer care more accessible, the TGH Cancer Institute recently opened an Infusion Center at the TGH Brandon Healthplex, where an additional TrueBeam linear accelerator will also be available in July 2023. In December 2022, Tampa General announced that it had earned a three-year accreditation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC), a quality program established by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Ranked among the top 10 percent of U.S. hospitals for cancer care according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 rankings, the Tampa General Cancer Institute provides comprehensive care via groundbreaking therapies and advanced diagnostic imaging tools and is part of the hospital’s vision to be the safest and most innovative academic health system in America.
Through the TGH Cancer Institute, Tampa General and USF Health physicians offer a highly coordinated, interdisciplinary approach to quality patient care and provide a wide range of multidisciplinary specialties such as hematologic malignancies, bone marrow transplant, cell therapy, neuro-oncology, thoracic oncology, breast, colorectal and gynecologic oncology. Advanced subspecialties include liver and hepatobiliary oncology, otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), and genitourinary (reproductive system and genitourinary tract). For more information about the TGH Cancer Institute, visit www.tgh.org/cancer.
ABOUT TAMPA GENERAL HOSPITAL
Tampa General Hospital, a 1,040-bed, not-for-profit, academic medical center, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the region’s only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. Tampa General Hospital is the highest-ranked hospital in the market in U.S. News & World Report's 2022-23 Best Hospitals, and is tied as the third highest-ranked hospital in Florida, with seven specialties ranking among the best programs in the United States. Tampa General Hospital has been designated as a model of excellence by the 2022 Fortune/Merative 100 Top Hospitals list. The academic medical center’s commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious Forbes magazine rankings – first nationally in the 2022 America’s Best Employers for Women and sixth out of 100 Florida companies in the 2022 America's Best Employers by State. Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and in fiscal year 2021, provided a net community benefit worth more than $224.5 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education, and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With six medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center, and its 32-bed Neuroscience, Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of Florida. It also is home to the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital’s footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health, and 21 TGH Imaging powered by Tower outpatient radiology centers throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties. Tampa Bay area residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics, and they can even receive home visits in select areas through TGH Urgent Care at Home, powered by Fast Track. As one of the largest hospitals in the country, Tampa General Hospital is the first in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that provides real-time situational awareness to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost. For more information, go to www.tgh.org.
ABOUT USF HEALTH
USF Health's mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the Taneja College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and USF Health’s multispecialty physicians’ group. The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News & World Report’s national university rankings than USF. For more information, visit health.usf.edu.