Carolinas HealthCare System

HDR Brachytherapy: Innovative Technology

Michael Haake, MD

Michael Haake, MD
Levine Cancer Institute

A radiation oncology team led by Michael Haake, MD, at Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Cancer Institute, was the first in the world to use improved technology to perform high-dose rate (HDR), ultrasound-guided brachytherapy treatment on patients diagnosed with prostate cancer, which drastically reduces recovery time, enabling patients to walk out of the radiation department just hours after receiving treatment.

HDR brachytherapy involves delivering radiotherapy from inside the body by temporarily placing a tiny mobile radioactive source directly into the tumor or other targeted areas. Using afterloading needles, physicians move the radioactive source within needles that have been inserted into the area being treated. With the help of an in-procedure computer that rapidly calculates dose distribution, the radiation oncologist designs a plan to affect movement of the source within the needles to distribute the specified dose within the patient's anatomy.

Plans for this type of treatment can be created in a real-time environment, using ultrasound images generated in the operating room rather than CT scans generated post-operatively elsewhere. This avoids the need to awaken the patient to move him to a CT scanner for imaging after the needles have been put into place. All of the procedure, the urinary catheter placement, the planning, the placement of the afterloading needles, the final calculation, the actual delivery of the treatment and the removal of the needles are done with the patient under anesthesia.

"From a practical point of view, the software enabled us to monitor needle tips better in real time by moving the needle as dosimetry marked them and allowed us to actually leave the room with a great treatment plan, moving a couple of needles that dropped the urethral dose and maintained the peripheral dose," said Dr. Haake. "That would have been much more difficult and time consuming using our previous planning system."

Dr. Haake's procedure exemplifies one of several recent advancements made by the Institute's radiation oncology team. In July, physicians at the Institute's location in Charlotte began using a drug recently approved by the FDA, Radium-223 dichloride, to treat patients with late-state prostate cancer. This type of treatment has been clinically proven to extend survival and improve quality of life. Additionally, the Institute continues to expand its radiation oncology services with plans to open a Radiation Vault at Carolinas Medical Center-University in May or June 2014.

Welcome Peter Anderson, MD, Renowned Oncology Researcher

Peter Anderson, MD, PhD

Peter Anderson, MD, PhD
Director of Hematology, Oncology
and Blood and Marrow Transplant
Levine Children's Hospital

Carolinas HealthCare System recently announced that Peter Anderson, MD, PhD, has joined the System as the director of hematology, oncology and blood and marrow transplant at Levine Children's Hospital. He will also serve as the associate director of transition care at Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Cancer Institute.

With more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Anderson is a national leader in oncology research and methods for improving patients' quality of life during treatment. He has been involved in clinical trials for bone sarcomas, immunotherapy and cellular therapy. Dr. Anderson also created outpatient protocols to improve chemotherapy treatments and developed drug therapies to reduce treatment side effects such as mouth sores.

"Pediatric oncology is constantly changing and evolving, and Dr. Anderson is consistently at the forefront of developing new and innovative approaches to treating patients," said Leonard G. Feld, MD, PhD, chair of pediatrics and chief medical officer for Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Children's Hospital. "His arrival at Carolinas Healthcare System is a milestone for pediatric services in our region. Dr. Anderson's research experience will certainly enhance our pediatric program, and his energy and vision will solidify our programs as among the elite in the nation."

Dr. Anderson spent the past eight years at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where he was the Curtis Distinguished Professor and the section chief of non-neural solid tumors. At MD Anderson, he helped lead innovations that improved the survival rate of children with bone tumors and metastases. Prior, he was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he started the bone marrow transplant program and developed new treatments using bone-seeking radioisotopes and cytokines. An advocate for improved patient communication, Dr. Anderson has helped developed clinical strategies to improve patient understanding of their disease through novel and nontraditional methods. He also helped launch a program that gave patients flash drives with current medical records to better enable a continuum of care with primary care physicians and care-givers.

"There is tremendous energy at Carolinas Healthcare System, particularly in the pediatric and oncology arenas and being able to leverage the clinical excellence at both is a welcome opportunity," Dr. Anderson said. "I see myself as a catalyst to not only advance research and our clinical excellence but also to impact patient experience and the nature of the patient and provider relationship."

Board certified in pediatrics, internal medicine and pediatric hematology and oncology, he has been honored with multiple awards during his career including from the American Cancer Society, the Pediatric Research and Education Foundation, the Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson. Dr. Anderson has had more than 100 peer-reviewed articles published and has been the principal investigator on more than 10 research projects.

Dr. Anderson received his medical degree from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and his doctorate in biomedical sciences from the City University of New York. He combined his internal medicine and pediatrics residency at Duke University Medical Center and completed his fellowship in hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant at the University of Minnesota. He also holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Anderson is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and International Society of Pediatric Oncology among others.

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