Time and precision are often the most valuable resources in the fight against cancer, and a new cutting-edge device helps bring real time information to the fight against cancer.

At Jefferson’s NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (Philadelphia), the team leans on the latest clinical trial research and technology to care for their patients. The new hybrid MRI-Linac combines high-resolution MRI imaging with a linear accelerator (Linac), whereas conventional radiation therapy requires multiple visits by the patient to locate their tumor with imaging equipment, and then treat with a linear accelerator (Linac). This is not only more convenient for the patient, but the increased accuracy also reduces damage to healthy tissue next to the tumor site.

The challenge, however, was that the dense urban setting precluded an addition to house the new 5-ton piece of equipment and its specially designed vault. The only viable option was to locate the MRI-Linac next to the four existing linear accelerator vaults, two stories below the street level.

Originally constructed as a parking garage and subsequently converted to hospital space, the project area presented many unique challenges, including limited floor-to-floor height and significant structural foundations that had to be modified. Careful strategies, such as constructing the vault with prefabricated leaded concrete units instead of poured concrete to mitigate space limitation, and lowering the equipment and structural materials through an existing skylight above the waiting room allowed the four adjacent Linacs to remain in operation throughout construction.

Project category: Remodel/renovation

Chief administrator: Daniel Clancy, senior clinical manager, radiation oncology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Firm: Stantec, www.stantec.com

Design team: Stantec Architecture and Engineering LLC (planning, architecture, interior design, MEP/FP engineering); O’Donnell & Naccarato Inc. (structural engineering)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 1,500

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $1,000

Total construction cost (excluding land): $1.5 million

Completed: January 2021