Technology speeds preparation process, ensures greater precision
Baltimore, Md. — July 11, 2013 — A new chemotherapy robot will streamline how cancer-fighting drugs are compounded for patients at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, not only reducing the waiting time but also providing added precision and safety to the preparation process.
The robot is capable of preparing up to 12 doses of chemotherapy an hour, three times what a pharmacist or technician can do in the same amount of time. The cancer center’s Katz pharmacy, which is located in the outpatient clinic called the Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Pavilion, currently prepares 80 to 90 doses of chemotherapy daily for patients.
“Preparing each dose of chemotherapy – quite often a mixture of several drugs – is a time-consuming process that requires pharmacists and technicians to perform multiple steps and safety checks while handling highly potent drugs in a sterile environment,” says Kevin J. Cullen, M.D., director of the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Distinguished Professor of Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “By using this sophisticated technology, we can automate the process and enable our pharmacy staff to more efficiently and safely prepare chemotherapy for our patients.”
Chemotherapy is individualized for each cancer patient, based on the physician’s orders, real-time lab results and input from the pharmacy staff, and prepared while the patient waits to receive treatment.
The Apoteca chemotherapy robot has built-in quality control mechanisms, such as bar-coding and weighing, that provide increased accuracy. It precisely performs calculations required for dosing and confirms the measurements while recording them automatically and consistently. The robot positively identifies drugs, which further reduces the chance for incorrect drugs or container errors. The robot’s sterile environment reduces the potential for drug contamination and protects pharmacists and technicians from possible exposure to chemotherapy agents.
Roslyn and Leonard Stoler, longtime benefactors of the Greenebaum Cancer Center, donated $1.2 million to purchase the chemotherapy robot, which will be named in honor of their granddaughter who was successfully treated for cancer nearly 20 years ago. Mr. Stoler is founder and chairman of Len Stoler Automotive, which owns 13 auto dealerships in the Baltimore and New York markets. Mrs. Stoler is a member of the cancer center’s advisory board.
“This amazing piece of automated technology will deliver significant value on many fronts, from patient safety to inventory management. But most importantly, it will improve the experience for all of the patients who come to the cancer center each day to receive chemotherapy treatments,” Len Stoler says.
The Stolers gave $5 million toward a new outpatient center, which opened in 2005 on the first floor of the University of Maryland Medical Center and bears their names.
The new chemotherapy robot will be unveiled at a July 11, 2013, dedication ceremony in the Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Pavilion.
About the University of Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center
The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated center in Baltimore affiliated with the University of Maryland Medical Center and University of Maryland School of Medicine, offers a multidisciplinary approach to treating all types of cancer and has an active cancer research program. For more information, go to www.umgcc.org.