A new Integrated Practice Unit (IPU) for patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer was implemented for the first time in Israel at Sheba Medical Center. The unit was designed after a Boston-based therapy model.
The new IPU treatment plan incorporates a multidisciplinary team of leading national and international physicians, including experts from Sheba’s Meirav Breast Cancer Center, breast imaging specialists, pathologists, surgical oncologists, plastic surgeons, radiation experts, breast cancer specialists, geneticists, gynecologists, and fertility preservation specialists. A full team of nurses experienced in caring for breast cancer patients will accompany this team, alongside psychologists, social workers, dieticians, and dedicated administrative staff. All of the health care providers collaborate weekly for discussion sessions, making joint decisions to custom tailor the care plans for individual patients.
Dr. Einav Nili Gal-Yam, deputy director of the Meirav Breast Cancer Center and director of the outpatient oncology division, explains, “When a woman comes to us, she requires treatment by a wide range of specialists… The revolution in the new IPU model is that all these medical experts envelop her with a full scope of care, providing the best treatments and enhancing the patient experience.”
As part of this initiative, a unique breast MRI device was also purchased. Prof. Miri Sklair, who heads the Breast Imaging Center at the Meirav Breach Cancer Center, described the new Siemens MRI as a “high performance, innovative device that allows for superior quality test results in less time and with more precision.” The new technology allows Sheba to perform specialized, advanced scans that were not previously possible.
“Integrating a fully dedicated multidisciplinary medical staff with first-class technologies ensures optimal results for the patient,” said Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, Deputy Director, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at Sheba.
Research teams are working in tandem with the IPU, and patients are invited to participate in various studies that contribute to a deeper understanding of the disease. Also, these participants are thereby granted access to innovative, advanced therapies and technologies.
“Breast cancer treatment is constantly being advanced and updated. Sheba is the leading institute for treating breast cancer in Israel, we are pushing forwards in research and assuming a central role in international studies that enable us to provide the most progressive therapies in the world,” said Prof. Bella Kaufman, president of the Oncology Department and director of the institute for breast oncology.