Monday, May 03, 2010
Health care briefs
Courtesy of Mountain States Health Alliance
Artist's rendering of the planned Smyth County Community Hospital.
Blue Ridge Business Journal
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The Roanoke Times
Smyth County hospital construction to begin next month
Construction on the new Smyth County Community Hospital will begin in June.
The $66 million hospital will be built off exit 47 of Interstate 81. The existing hospital, which has been open for 45 years, will move all its current services to the new location.
At 150,373 square feet, the new facility will be 13,000 square feet larger than the old one. The emergency department will be 75 percent larger and the radiology department 50 percent larger. The hospital will have 30 acute care patient rooms, 14 inpatient rehab beds, an 11-room emergency department and three operating rooms. The new building has also been built according to LEED guidelines, using natural light and materials.
SCCH is expected to open in its new location in summer 2012.
Tech researcher wins grant to study cancer treatments
A Virginia Tech professor is changing the way we look at tumors.
Marissa Nichole Rylander has received a $400,000 award from the National Science Foundation to study cancer treatments using nanotechnology and laser therapy. Rylander is jointly appointed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.
Rylander's new design, called the "holey scaffold," is like a miniature microscope used in conjunction with a living system.
In traditional methods used to study tumor treatments in the lab, samples are taken periodically and a lot of time points are missed.
"The point is to come up with a method that allows us to follow the response of tumors to therapies in real time," Rylander said. Her new method uses lasers to penetrate beneath the surface, and fibers that send light, putting a "microscope" inside the tissue that can follow the therapy continuously without taking samples. The new tool will be able to give insight regarding what particles can best be used to treat cancer.
Now, tumors are often surgically cut out, which Rylander said is highly invasive and often removes healthy tissue. Non-selective lasers hit healthy tissue and heat everything in their path, but Rylander is working toward a method that would seek out cancer cells, turn the laser on locally and hit only select areas.
"Our overall goal is just to have a more selective cancer therapy," Rylander said.
--Michelle Skeen, BRBJ