Clinical activity has grown considerably over the last several years in the section. Current outpatient activity is approximately 23,000 visits per year in our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, and we are growing about 10% each year. We also operate a dedicated inpatient Hematology/Oncology unit with approximately 800 admissions per year to Boston Medical Center, East Newton Campus, 7E.
Boston Medical Center is the Safety net hospital for patients from the Boston area, as well as being an academic medical center and tertiary care hospital for the region. More than 40% of the patients who recieve care at Boston Medical Center come from ethnically and culturally diverse communities and are often economically disadvantaged and have limited means to cope with serious illnesses. The incidence of cancer in these populations is unusually high, and disease is typically advanced at the time of diagnosis. Understanding, design, and development of more effective cancer screening and treatment strategies for such patients, represent important programmatic and academic goals for the Section, as well as creative opportunities for academic program development. We emphasize the role of clinical trials in providing for our patients, to the latest treatments. The Cancer Clinical Trials Office is directed by Timothy Cooley, M.D. The Clinical Trials Office also coordinates patient support groups and other support services for our patients.
While the Section is committed to providing exceptional care for all patients with cancer and blood diseases, one of our goals is to develop focused, multi-disciplinary clinical and research programs of excellence that are relevant to our patients and to the particular potential strengths of BUMC and BVAHCS. For example, the Center for Thoracic Oncology was recently established under the direction of Benedict Daly, M.D., Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery. The Center represents a collaborative effort between Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Thoracic Surgery, Pulmonary Medicine, Pathology, and Clinical Trials to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the care of patients with thoracic malignancies.
The Sickle Cell Service, directed by Elizabeth Klings, M.D., including a Sickle Cell “ Day Hospital” unique in New England, continues to expand and improve the care of sickle cell patients (from late teenage years through adulthood) in the Greater Boston area. Approximately 10% of patients seen in the Day Hospital end up admitted to BUMC, whereas 90% are sent home at the end of the day, preventing a large number of potential admissions.
The Stem Cell Transplant Program, directed by Dr. Vaishali Sanchorawala, is internationally recognized as a leader in the treatment of AL amyloidosis. In collaboration with the Amyloid Treatment and Research Program, co-directed by Martha Skinner and Vaishali Sanchorawala, the Transplant Program provides a multidisciplinary team approach for patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous peripheral blood stem cell rescue. The Program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and has been an approved transplant facility through the Southwest Oncology Group since 1996. In addition to AL amyloidosis, appropriate patients with multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and leukemia are treated through the program.
Major changes in the conduct of Hematology and Oncology clinical activities by Boston VA Healthcare System-based Hematology and Oncology faculty result from the merger of the Jamaica Plain VAHCS and the West Roxbury VAHCS. All BVAHCS Hematology and Oncology inpatient activities are conducted at the West Roxbury facility, while all ambulatory E&M and treatment visits have been at Jamaica Plain. Together with three Harvard Medical School-affiliated hematologist-oncologists, Hematology and Oncology faculty supervise inpatient and outpatient activities at both BVAHCS sites. Dr. Daniel Jacobson, is the Chief of Oncology at the VA, while Dr. Kenneth Bauer, a Harvard faculty member, is Chief of Hematology.