SUNSET PARK – NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center opened its doors Friday morning for a tour showcasing state-of-the-art technologies and services that will make it the premier cancer treatment facility in Brooklyn.
Perlmutter Cancer Center is a 25,000 square-foot site in Sunset Park that offers full-service treatment for patients, including radiation and infusion therapy, under one roof. This allows patients to receive specialized cancer treatment that’s both convenient and accessible, but more importantly, provides the best care.
The National Cancer Institute has two levels of designation for cancer centers—designated cancer centers and comprehensive cancer centers. This year, the Perlmutter Cancer Center became one of only fifty centers nationwide to obtain comprehensive designation status.
“The difference between the quality of care you get in a comprehensive cancer center and elsewhere is substantial,” said Dr. Benjamin Neel, Director of Perlmutter Cancer Center. “I certainly would not have any of my family members treated anywhere else other than a comprehensive cancer center.”
According to Neel, a comprehensive cancer center doesn’t only offer inclusive, specialized care. They’re also meant to provide basic, translational, clinical, and population research as well as provide training, education, and community outreach and engagement.
The facility features a radiation oncology department on the first floor and an infusion therapy department on the second. The first floor has five exam rooms and the most up-to-date radiation technology—a Varian Truebeam linear accelerator.
“It is the latest and greatest in terms of technology to treat patients,” said Dr. Alec Kimmelman, Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. “It allows for very accurate treatment delivery, ensuring that you are targeting the tumor where you want to treat it but also doing your best to spare the normal surrounding tissue.”
Onboard imaging capabilities allow physicians to do CT scans and take other images to ensure they’re targeting the exact spot that’s meant to be treated. Above the machine is a colorful image of green trees and blue skies, directly over where the patient will lie for treatment. The facility currently has one linear accelerator—which, according to Kimmelman, can treat about thirty patients a day—but they plan on getting a second one.
On the second floor is the infusion suite, where patients will receive chemotherapy and blood transfusions. It features four exam rooms and 21 infusion and transfusion chairs.
“People can spend somewhere from two to eight hours in these chairs, so we try to make them as comfortable as we can,” said Joan Scagliola, Senior Director of Oncology. “We give them amenities and televisions and stuff like that so there’s something to occupy their time while they’re here.”
The facility also has a fully-functioning, sterile environment pharmacy where they’ll mix the medicine on-site for immediate use. Finally, the second floor has a conference room where doctors can discuss all patient cases together as well as over teleconference with physicians in Manhattan.
According to Dr. Kimmelman, being able to bring in colleagues from different specialties allows for the type of integrated care that is invaluable to patients.
“We work very closely with our colleagues upstairs, the medical oncologists, to coordinate chemotherapy with radiation,” said Kimmelman. “You can’t beat that kind of coordinated care.”
In addition to offering comprehensive care, the cancer center will also provide Brooklyn patients with local treatment that previously would only be available in other boroughs.
“The convenience, of course, makes it more likely that people will come here,” said Dr. Neel. “It’s difficult to get to Manhattan regularly, especially if you’re getting radiation or chemo treatments on a regular basis.”
Perlmutter Cancer Center will open for patients on Monday. And according to Dr. Kimmelman, it will greatly improve the quality of care for all residents of Brooklyn.
“I think this is really going to bring the most state-of-the-art, comprehensive cancer care here,” said Kimmelman. “And we’re very proud of that.”