MUSC Hollings Cancer Center


Contact: Vicky Agnew
MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
Phone: (843) 792-0376
Mobile: (843) 697-6208

MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Partner on
State-of-the-Art Tomotherapy Treatment for Cancer Patients

Intensity Modulated Radiation Incorporates CT Imaging to Deliver Exceptional Accuracy

Charleston, SC (January 31, 2008) — The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina’s Hollings Cancer Center have partnered to bring TomoTherapy -- the latest  in precision radiation therapy – to cancer patients.

The TomoTherapy Hi-Art Treatment System is one of just two available in South Carolina, and one of 150 medical sites in the world with the technology. The VA Medical Center and Hollings Cancer Center (HCC), both located in Charleston, S.C., collaborated to bring the advanced technology to patients because of its ability to target tumors of all sizes throughout the body with exceptional accuracy while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

“We are happy for the opportunity to partner with the VA to bring this technology to cancer patients,” said Joseph Jenrette, M.D., Chair of MUSC’s Department of Radiation Oncology. “We consider it the most important breakthrough in radiation therapy in the past few years. It provides the most accurate treatment available for some cancers.”

“Tomotherapy offers the latest cancer treatment technology to veterans and citizens throughout the Lowcountry,” said Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Director John Barilich. “We are very pleased to bring this technology to South Carolina through our partnership.”

TomoTherapy, currently used for tumors of the head and neck, brain, lung/chest wall, pancreas, lymph nodes, spine, prostate, abdomen, and rectum, augments the sophisticated cancer treatment protocols both facilities offer. HCC continues to offer conventional radiation with the linear accelerator. Expert teams that include physicians, physicists, and radiation therapists develop treatment protocols based on an individual patient’s diagnosis.

TomoTherapy incorporates 3-D CT images to “paint” a tumor. During treatment, a thin beam rotates 360-degrees around the body delivering precise treatment while avoiding surrounding tissue and organs. The use of CT imaging allows treatment teams to evaluate the tumor daily and refine dosage as necessary.

That could lead to new treatment protocols in which patients receive stronger doses for fewer days. Typically, patients receiving radiation therapy, via Tomotherapy or conventional means, do so daily for 5-35 days. Physicians from both facilities are collaborating to develop new protocols to enhance patients’ quality of life.

Another advantage of this new technology is the ability to train residents and medical students in the most advanced treatments for patients in South Carolina and neighboring states.  

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About Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is a primary, secondary, and tertiary care facility that serves more than 40,000 veterans in 15 counties along the South Carolina and Georgia coastline in our main medical center or one of four community-based outpatient clinics in Myrtle Beach, SC; Savannah, GA; Beaufort, SC; Goose Creek, SC. The Charleston VAMC, which opened in 1966, is located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The main medical center provides acute medical, surgical, and psychiatric inpatient care, as well as outpatient primary and mental health care to Lowcountry veterans who require more than 476,000 outpatient visits and approximately 4,000 inpatient stays annually.  The 117-bed hospital currently operates 102 beds and a 28-bed nursing home unit. For more information, please visit

About Hollings Cancer Center
Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina offers state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, therapies and surgical techniques and has multidisciplinary clinics that involve surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation therapists, radiologists, pathologists, psychologists and many other specialists seeing patients under one roof.  Multidisciplinary care is provided in disease specific clinics such as thoracic, breast, head & neck, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, hematological, and pediatric cancers. Hollings Cancer Center is the largest academic-based cancer program in South Carolina.  The Hollings Cancer Center is currently a developing National Cancer Institute designated cancer center and has more than $28M in cancer research funding. More than 1,000 people are currently participating on a cancer clinical trial at HCC.  For more information, please visit



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