MAYWOOD, Ill. – On Nov. 11, Loyola University Medical Center dedicated its new bone marrow transplant and oncology unit, as it thanked donors who made the world-class cancer treatment facility possible.
“Patients are at the center of everything we do, and in this beautiful new facility they will receive comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer treatment,” said Larry Goldberg, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System. “This new unit is a great example of why Loyola has become a magnet for cancer care in the region."
The unit has two, 10-bed wings - The Coleman Foundation Bone Marrow Wing and the Donald P. and Byrd M. Kelly Family Foundation Oncology Wing. The unit serves patients undergoing stem cell transplants for hematologic (blood) cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
Patients receive high-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation to kill cancer cells. Because these treatments also destroy immune system cells, patients are infused with stem cells derived from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood. These stem cells develop into new immune cells. Patients typically stay in the unit for three or four weeks.
The unit is designed to improve clinical outcomes while providing many of the comforts of home, said Patrick Stiff, MD, division director of Hematology/Oncology and medical director of Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.
Dr. Stiff noted that survival rates are improving. “This improvement is related both to better care, and to facilities such as Loyola’s new world-class unit, which is providing improved quality of life and more engagement with families."
At the front of each wing is a medication room, supply room and nutrition room. The floor plan ensures that a nurse never has to walk more than 100 feet to reach a patient’s room.
All rooms are private, equipped with flat-screen televisions and wired for cable and Wi-Fi. Daybeds enable loved ones to stay overnight in comfort. Lighting will align with patients’ circadian rhythms, so they will be more alert and energized during the day and better able to sleep at night.
The unit includes an area for art therapy, a consultation room, a meditation room and a family lounge and kitchenette, where friends and family can cook meals, watch movies, celebrate family events or attend support group meetings.
Loyola has begun construction on an additional 20 beds for other oncology patients. The cost for the entire project is $18 million. Funding was provided by The Donald P. and Byrd M. Kelly Family Foundation, The Coleman Foundation and other donors:
- The Morris and Naomi Futorian Family Room is made possible by the generosity of the Lichtenstein family.
- The Mario A. and Mary Kay Pasin Meditation Room is made possible by the generosity of the Pasin family.
- The Andrew R. & Judy D. Konitzer Oncology Nursing Station is made possible by the generosity of the Konitzer family.
- The Clare R. Speh Conference Room is made possible by the generosity of the Speh family.
- The Bill Bass Foundation Family Consult Room is made possible by the Bill Bass Foundation.
“We deeply appreciate these gifts, which will help others while helping Loyola to fulfill its mission,” Goldberg said.
Loyola has treated more blood cancer patients with stem cell transplants than any other center in Illinois, and has one of the largest unrelated donor transplant programs in the world. Loyola physicians have performed more than 2,700 stem cell transplants, including about 150 cord blood transplants.
Loyola has a particular expertise in treating patients who cannot find matching donors from either their families or the National Marrow Donor Program. Loyola receives referrals from throughout the Midwest, including other academic medical centers in Chicago. Loyola was among the first centers to use umbilical cord donations for the treatment of certain adult cancers.