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Operating Suite at Brigham and Women’s Offers State-of-the-Art Option to Mesothelioma Patients

Dr. David Sugarbaker, Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), is one of the leading authorities on treating mesothelioma.  He focuses on developing the most effective, cutting-edge treatment strategies that can significantly extend mesothelioma patients’ lives. Now, Sugarbaker has access to a one-of-a-kind surgical suite that combines all forms of advanced imaging modalities in one suite including MRI, PET/CT, ultrasound, X-ray fluoroscopy and angiography. 

The Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) system, unveiled this week at BWH, allows physicians “to develop and deliver the safest and most-effective state-of-the-art therapies in a patient-friendly environment.”  The design of the room eliminates the need to transport patients for “intraoperative imaging and mitigates the risk of attendant complications such as airborne acquired infection.”  An adjoining control room houses radiologists who can provide instantaneous image interpretation for each procedure as it is performed. 

“AMIGO serves as a national resource for the development of image-guided therapies and is designed to be a step forward in efforts to improve clinical outcomes,” says Dr Ferenc Jolesz, co-director of AMIGO. 

According to BWH, image-guided therapy techniques help to make surgeries less invasive and more precise, resulting in shorter hospital stays and, potentially, fewer repeated procedures.  AMIGO will facilitate improvements in surgical and interventional care. 

Sugarbaker has had success conducting extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), a radical surgical procedure that involves removal of a lung, the diseased lining of the chest cavity and heart, and a portion of the diaphragm, on pleural mesothelioma patients.  The asbestos-caused cancer has a complex growth pattern making complete surgical removal very difficult.  Although AMIGO has not yet been used in thoracic surgeries, the use of AMIGO for EPP could result in “better care for patients through the development of improved image-guided surgical and interventional techniques.” 

According to the Boston Globe, the NIH provided $5 million for building AMIGO and several million dollars more for planning, while Brigham and industrial partners invested about $15 million in the suite.  BWH has led the field in advancing image-guided therapy and in 2005 the National Institutes of Health selected Brigham and Women’s Hospital to become the National Center for Image-Guided Therapy (NCIGT).  This suite will function as a national test bed as part of the NCIGT. 

Sugarbaker has dedicated a large amount of both clinical and laboratory research time to finding an approach to treating malignant pleural mesothelioma and improving the survival rate.  He founded the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham dedicated to the treatment of mesothelioma patients. 

Steven Seltzer, MD, chairman of the Department of Radiology at BWH, said “We are confident that the investment in AMIGO will translate to better care for patients through the development of improved image-guided surgical and interventional techniques. Patients will benefit from minimally invasive treatments, shorter hospital stays, and reduced need to repeat a surgery.”

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Nancy Meredith is a blog and web content writer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the Information Technology industry. She has been writing about Mesothelioma for 4 years. Follow Nancy on Google+

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