exterior of AHN cancer institute at Allegheny General Hospital

Cancer Treatment Innovations

At AHN Cancer Institute, our team of expert researchers are driven by excellence. We use cutting-edge technology and groundbreaking therapy, tailored to each patient, for the best possible result.

Quick guide to AHN Cancer treatment innovations

CAR T-cell therapy for blood cancers

CAR T-cell therapy is offered at only a few cancer centers in the country. It’s an emerging treatment for aggressive blood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. CAR T-cell therapy involves taking blood from a patient and isolating the T-cells (disease-fighting immune cells). The patient’s T-cells are then reengineered into “fighter” cells using the CliniMACS Prodigy® machine on-site at AHN. This machine reduces fighter cell production time, and having this technology on-site also means the fighter cells never have to be frozen before being infused back into the patient. AHN is the first — and only — health system in the region to provide CAR T-cell therapy to patients with manufactured CAR T-cells under our own roof.

Learn more about our innovative blood cancer treatment and our personalized cancer treatment plans.

pulmonologist focused on ion endoluminal system screen

Ion™ Endoluminal System: Robotic lung biopsy helps detect lung cancer earlier

The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the better opportunity we have to successfully treat it. The new Ion™ Endoluminal System is a robotic scope that allows our doctors to grab tissue samples from deep within the lung, even around tight bends in the airways. AHN is the first in western Pennsylvania to perform lung biopsies with the Ion, which lets us detect and treat lung cancer earlier than ever before.

Our doctors use the Ion to access hard-to-reach tumors in a less invasive procedure than other biopsy options. We can then make a diagnosis by sampling tissue from small nodules in areas of the lung where previous tools and procedures couldn’t reach.

MR-linac machine to treat liver cancer

Elekta Unity MR-Linac: Precise and personalized treatment

MR-Linac is a breakthrough technology that simultaneously generates magnetic resonance images (MRI) and delivers radiation beams to the tumor tissue. Doctors view tumor tissue in real time and can adapt the radiation dose during the treatment.

The MR-Linac gives your doctor the ability to reshape the radiation dose based on daily changes in the shape, size, and position of the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue and organs — potentially resulting in better outcomes and fewer side effects.

The AHN Cancer Institute is one of the few facilities in the country to have the MR-Linac technology treatment option.

SBRT treatment to manage liver cancer

SBRT: Helping to manage liver cancer

Around 80% of patients with liver cancer aren’t eligible for surgery. However, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a nonsurgical procedure proven to shrink tumors in patients with inoperable liver cancer. It also serves as a bridge to liver transplants or eventual surgical removal. Slowing down tumor growth gives transplant-eligible patients more time to wait for a new liver to become available.

AHN Cancer Institute pioneered the use of SBRT as an option to safely treat these patients. Read how SBRT shrank Conny’s liver tumor.

IPEC directed abdominal cancer treatment

HIPEC: Directed abdominal cancer treatment, application, and prevention

AHN Cancer Institute is one of the few centers in the country treating patients with advanced abdominal cancers using an innovative treatment called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). HIPEC's goal is to prevent new cancer growth with strong doses of heated chemotherapy, circulated directly in the abdomen. HIPEC can cause fewer side effects than intravenous chemotherapy. This approach is particularly effective for those with advanced abdominal cancers, as it is meant to kill microscopic cells left behind after surgery. Read about Gevony’s story with the HIPEC procedure.

close-up of Modus V fully automated robotic digital microscope

Modus V: Enhanced precision in brain surgery

AHN uses the Modus V™* — a fully automated robotic digital microscope with a high-powered camera and light source that provides exceptional views of the brain. The Modus V’s features can potentially allow for the use of less-invasive brain cancer procedures, more rapid recovery, and reduced complications. This novel technology assists surgeons with extreme precision when removing brain tumors. Read how Dr. Williamson used the Modus V to remove Reba’s brain tumor.

Gene sequencing being run in a medical lab

Genomics Lab: Finding the genetic reason of tumor growth

Cancer is a disease of the genome. Our new DNA/Genomics lab with the AHN Genomics and Precision Medicine Center lets us explore each patient’s genes to see what’s driving tumor growth — and fight their cancer on a cellular level. When we’re armed with this information, patients get access to personalized cancer treatments at every AHN Cancer Institute location.

We use genome sequencing — or next-generation sequencing — to uncover the genetic changes unique to a patient’s particular tumor by analyzing the genetic sequence of tumor tissue and comparing it to the same individual’s normal (non-cancer) sequence.

Every person’s cancer is different, and every tumor has its own unique abnormalities at the genetic level. Some of these abnormalities, if identified, can be exploited to improve cancer detection, management, and treatment. The difference between the tumor and your normal sequences indicates where potential genetic abnormalities are and they may make cancers vulnerable to a particular drug or therapy.

surgeon using OsteoCool technology to apply heat to treat spinal tumor

OsteoCool: Managing spinal tumors with heat

OsteoCool™* is a minimally invasive option for patients who need complex spinal reconstruction surgery. OsteoCool uses radiofrequency energy to kill painful spinal tumors. Surgeons make two small puncture incisions and then transmit heat energy into the tumor. This minimally invasive technique has resulted in patients receiving immediate pain relief. Read Leo’s story about how OsteoCool made his back feel as good as ever.

doctor using syringe for immunotherapy to target cancer cells

Immunotherapy: Boosting the immune system's ability to beat cancer

Immunotherapy improves the immune system’s ability to target cancer cells and stop or slow their growth. AHN Cancer Institute oncologists offer immunotherapy to effectively treat many types of cancer, often in combination with other forms of treatment. Read how Claud turned to immunotherapy for his stage 4 lung cancer.

AHN Cancer Institute member utilizing a GammaPod®

GammaPod®: Targeting breast cancer in just 1 to 5 treatments

GammaPod® is the first of its kind in treating early-stage breast cancer. The device targets radiation beams at breast tumors so exactly that it takes only one to five treatments instead of 40. The pinpoint accuracy also means the radiation won’t get near your heart and lungs, and you will have very few side effects, if any at all. AHN is only the third health system in the country to offer GammaPod and the first in Pennsylvania. 

Contact us

Call the AHN Cancer Help Line anytime at (412) NURSE-4-U (412) 687-7348 to schedule a cancer-related appointment or to just talk with our nurses about diagnoses, treatments, and side effects.