Design for the Latest Technology in Cancer Treatment: A Carbon Therapy Center
Carbon Therapy is the latest technology for cancer treatment; a form of radiation therapy not found in the present U.S healthcare system but already being used in parts of Europe and Japan. The aim was to understand the complex functioning of a carbon therapy center and derive design-guidelines that determine the architectural response to it. It was carried out by visiting the prototype carbon therapy centers around the world and operational proton therapy centers in the United States. In addition, interviewing nuclear physicists, technicians, radiologists and architects gave an insight into the physics behind the technology, shortcomings of the prototypes and the future of this modality of treatment. The study was focused on staff and patient needs, radiation shielding, wayfinding, stress reduction and other physiological factors. Observations and comparisons were drawn to inform these selected parameters and bring forth potential areas for new research.
The findings of the study were assimilated in a student project of a carbon therapy center, sited at the University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, illustrating the application of evidence–based principals to generate a design successfully integrating this novel technology while creating a humane environment for cancer patients.
This article originally appeared in The Academy Journal, published by the AIA Academy of Architecture for Healthcare (14th edition, November 2011).