Congressional Representatives Step Up to the Plate for Cancer Care

U.S. Representatives Charles B. Rangel, Carolyn Maloney and Nita Lowey Back Bill to Fund Next-Generation Linear Accelerator for Cancer Patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Aug 3, 2009


Demonstrating their commitment to improving the health of New Yorkers and communities nationwide, U.S. Representatives Charles B. Rangel, Carolyn Maloney and Nita Lowey spearheaded an effort to secure $1 million in the Department of Defense appropriations bill toward funding a next-generation linear accelerator at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

The Defense spending bill passed in the House on July 30 and is pending passage by the Senate and signature by President Barack Obama.

The linear accelerator would provide one of the most advanced technologies for the treatment of breast cancer and other cancerous and non-cancerous tumors — and open the door to research that could improve care for all Americans.

The innovative device projects high-energy X-rays precisely targeted at tumors, with real-time imaging and movement tracking to protect the patient's healthy tissue.

"We are deeply grateful for the leadership of Representatives Rangel, Maloney and Lowey, who have been longtime advocates for increased access to advanced medical treatments for patients and their families," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "This linear accelerator is a unique opportunity to invest in technology that promises real returns in improved care."

NewYork-Presbyterian is a leader in developing effective new devices and drugs for cancer treatment. The Hospital's National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Cancer Program are currently engaged in research to advance robotic surgery for prostate cancer, tissue testing for breast cancer metastasis, a nasal scope for diagnosing esophageal cancer, and a vaccine for brain cancer.

With the addition of a next-generation linear accelerator, NewYork-Presbyterian would work to develop protocols and techniques that best realize the technology's promise. These efforts would include clinical trials led by Dr. Clifford Chao, director of radiation oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

"The latest linear accelerators are equipped with imaging technology that allows for precise targeting of tumors and gating technology that synchs radiation bursts to the patient's breathing rhythm," says Dr. Chao, who is also chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "The result is radiotherapy that is more powerful and accurate, allowing for a treatment course of seven days instead of seven weeks. This not only allows us to treat cancers when they are small and most curable, but it also reduces side effects, and, importantly, makes the treatment experience more comfortable for patients.

"Research studies will help us develop the very best approaches for harnessing this incredible technology for treating a wide variety of cancers," says Dr. Chao.

For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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Bryan Dotson 212-305-5587