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Yonsei Cancer Center to provide newest heavy ion therapy in 2022
  • By Lee Hye-seon
  • Published 2019.05.02 15:43
  • Updated 2019.05.03 13:24
  • comments 0

Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, Yonsei Cancer Center vowed to provide patient-centered care and treat more intractable cancer.

Keun Ki-chang, president of Yonsei Cancer Center and a professor of radiology and oncology, said the hospital has achieved the quantity growth to the fullest, with the number of patients and wards reaching the maximum.

Keum Ki-chang, president of Yonsei Cancer Center, speaks at a news conference at Yonsei University in Shinchon, western Seoul, on Tuesday.

“Now is the time for quality growth. As we aim to introduce a heavy ion therapy system in 2022, we will take a step-by-step approach to become a hospital that treats and cures cancer well. We will not only offer standard therapies but those to treat intractable cancer,” he said at a news conference at Yonsei University on Tuesday.

Keum said he would help nurture three or four out of Yonsei’s 13 different cancer centers to the world-class level, with the introduction of the heavy ion therapy system by 2022.

“To advance the cancer hospital, each cancer center should operate innovatively, and the hospital should take responsibility for that. Under this system, I will tear down barriers between departments and grant authority and duty to each center,” he said.

The hospital decided to reorganize space based on diagnosis and tests and build more facilities. The hospital plans to purchase more CT and MRI machines this year because CT and MRI tests recently saw an increase in waiting time.

Yonsei Cancer Center will upgrade its hospital system to help patients who make the first reservation can see a doctor as soon as possible. It is also stepping up new drug development and clinical research efforts.

The hospital recently won an order to study on immunotherapy for anti-cancer drug development and attracted 1 billion won ($860,000) fund to work on a new lung cancer treatment.

It is also making an all-out effort to introduce a heavy ion therapy system by 2022. The latest cancer therapy is known to be highly effective in lung cancer, liver cancer, and pancreas cancer. As the patient’s other tissues’ exposure of radiation except for tumor is minimal, the therapy helps to raise the cancer patients’ survival rate significantly.

“The heavy ion therapy could target radiation-resistant cancer among treatable solid cancer. The targets include sarcoma, pancreatic, lung, and liver cancer. It will be helpful for tumors that have a high potential for side effects and that are rarely treatable,” Keum said.

Before the heavy iron therapy arrives, the hospital aims to actively carry out targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and new drug trials to prepare for treatments of intractable cancer, according to Keum. “Our final goal is to ‘treat patients well,’ which is the most basic goal of the hospital’s foundation,” he emphasized.

Established in 1969, Yonsei Cancer Center operates 13 cancer centers and has a multidisciplinary “Best Team” patient care service. It also runs units specializing in cancer prevention, palliative medical care, cancer knowledge, personalized treatment, and laser treatments for scars and cosmetic purposes.

The number of outpatients visiting Yonsei Cancer Center has steadily grown at an annual growth rate of 4 to 7 percent from about 490,000 in 2015 to 580,000 in 2018. The number of inpatients also went from 210,000 in 2015 to about 240,000 in 2016, with the ward operation rate reaching nearly 100 percent.


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