NEPTUNE — The unveiling of a first-in-the-world piece of medical equipment drew a large crowd at a Thursday, Sept. 7 press conference at Hackensack Meridian’s Neuroscience Institute of Jersey Shore University Medical Center [JSUMC] located in HOPE Tower.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the opening of The Dr. Robert H. and Mary Ellen Harris ZAP-X® Center for Noninvasive Neurosurgery and was attended by Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute, Hackensack Meridian Health and Jersey Shore University Medical Center leaders.
JSUMC is the first hospital in the Northeast U.S. to offer the ZAP-X® Gyroscopic Radiosurgery® for the brain and the only in the world to combine its technologies with a Synaptive brain only silent MRI that will treat brain tumors and conditions of the brain including trigeminal neuralgia and arteriovenous malformations (AVM). The first patient will be seen in the Dr. Robert H. and Mary Ellen Harris ZAP-X® Center for Noninvasive Neurosurgery using the imaging technology this week and then receive ZAP-X treatment soon afterwards.
This pairing of technologies will markedly reduce time from diagnosis to treatment and this is a point that Jersey Shore University Medical Center President and Chief Hospital Executive Vito Buccellato stressed at the press conference.
He said, “Think about the patient. We’re here for the patient. They are the focus of our attention. And to get your care within one day, two days or three days … better than waiting six weeks to worry about where I’m gonna go or how it’s going to advance. They are gonna knock it out.”
Shabbar Danish, M.D. chair of neurosurgery at the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JSUMC has been at the hospital system for 22 months. He said, “Jersey Shore University Medical Center has always been home to state-of-the-art medical interventions. We are thrilled to bring this advanced form of cranial radiosurgery to our patients.”
He added at the conference, “For me the biggest message is that a patient wakes up in the morning and has a disease and they are thinking, ‘I’ve got to go to Boston. I’ve got to go to New York. I’ve got to go to Baltimore.’ … This machine doesn’t actually exist in any of those places. We got it first before any of the places that you think would be the pioneers. So I think the most important message to send is that you’ve got to come here.”
Alan Colicchio, M.D., chair of Neurology, JSUMC and medical director, Neuroscience Care Transformation Service, Hackensack Meridian Health, Southern Market added, “We’re the only comprehensive neuroscience center in the entire area of Monmouth and Ocean counties. … Those of us who work in neuroscience we always like to say that neuroscience is medicine’s last frontier. Welcome to the frontier.”
JSUMC’S HOPE TOWER HOME TO FIRST-IN-THE-WORLD TECHNOLOGY
At Thursday’s press conference, the equipment itself got a lot of attention. Two rooms on the first floor of the Hope Tower now house the ZAP-X® and Synaptive MRI. The beehive shaped ZAP-X® Gyroscopic Radiosurgery machine will treat many primary and metastatic brain tumors with no incision in one to five brief outpatient visits. Patients often return to normal activity the same day of the procedure.
Paired with Synaptive MRI, by Synaptive Medical Inc., for the first time in the world, the two will provide the care team with real-time imaging feedback at all stages of clinical intervention, significantly shortening the time frame from diagnosis to treatment. Located in the room next door to ZAP-X®, Synaptive’s MRI is the only dedicated head MRI designed to specifically image the brain and nervous system.
“ZAP-X® paired with Synaptive MRI will be a powerful tool for us to help our patients combat brain tumors, with a few brief non-invasive, incisionless, outpatient treatments,” said Timothy Chen, M.D., medical director, CNS radiation oncology program at JSUMC and medical director, proton therapy department of radiation oncology, Hackensack Meridian Health. “It will revolutionize radiosurgical care in the same way Gamma KnifeⓇ and CyberKnifeⓇ have. We are proud to be able to offer this safe and effective treatment that minimizes the risk of radiation exposure to other parts of the brain.”
ZAP-X®Ⓡ Gyroscopic RadiosurgeryⓇ was invented by John R. Adler, M.D., who previously invented CyberKnifeⓇ.
Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health said, “The addition of ZAP-X® Gyroscopic Radiosurgery and Synaptive MRI in our network allows us to continue to offer the best care to the communities we serve throughout New Jersey. The first-in-the-world pairing of technologies furthers our network as a healthcare leader and destination for care. ”
HOPE TOWER HOME TO RENOWNED STAFF
The technology and machinery were not the only focus of the press conference.
Dr. Danish, Dr. Chen, Doug Miller, M.D. medical director of radiation oncology at JSUMC and Dr. Colicchio spoke of the project that was approximately one year in the making. The ZAP-X machine arrived June 5 and installation began immediately with installation on the Synaptive MRI beginning the following week. [A time lapse video of the ZAP-X installation can be viewed here.]
Dr. Danish said, “The commitment in this project is more than just the technology. It’s the entire process.”
Dr. Miller said, “Our department has consistently had the number one patient satisfaction scores in the entire system, as well as, the number one team member satisfaction scores in the entire system.”
Dr. Danish added, “We all have either been patients or have had close ones who have been patients and technology is part of it, but if you trust the people who are leading you that’s 90%. The multi-disciplinary team here is really dedicated to the process through and through.”
SUPPORTED BY PHILANTHROPY
The technology within the Dr. Robert H. and Mary Ellen Harris ZAP-X® Center for Noninvasive Neurosurgery was made possible by a very generous donation by the Golden Dome Foundation. The Golden Dome Foundation is a NJ-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was founded in 2015 by the late Dr. Robert H. Harris and his wife — the organization’s current president — Mary Ellen Harris, to support charitable causes. Over the span of several years, Golden Dome Foundation has invested heavily at Hackensack Meridian Health medical centers, including Bayshore Medical Center and Ocean University Medical Center, in addition to JSUMC.
“My husband dedicated his life to advancing research to improve the quality of life for people facing diseases and disorders,” Mary Ellen Harris said. “Making this gift and expanding his legacy by purchasing this life-saving technology is the carrying on of his life’s work. The community needs access to the best care possible and I am honored and humbled to be able to play a part in ensuring that it can be provided to those in need. I hope that this new equipment helps a lot of people.”
Regional President, Southern Market for Hackensack Meridian Health Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP said, “We want to thank Mrs. Mary Ellen Harris and Golden Dome Foundation for the creation of the Dr. Robert H. and Mary Ellen Harris ZAP-X Center for Noninvasive Neurosurgery, for fully funding the ZAP-X and Synaptive MRI equipment, and for supporting so many other areas within the Neuroscience Institute at Jersey Shore and our community at large. Thanks to her incredible enthusiasm and support, Jersey Shore University Medical Center is now the first in the world to have this unique technology pairing. We are extremely grateful.”
ABOUT THE HACKENSACK MERIDIAN NEUROSCIENCE INSTITUTE
The Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute is the largest, most comprehensive Neuroscience Institute in New Jersey. Consisting of the neurology and neuro-surgery programs at Hackensack Meridian three academic medical centers, Hackensack University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and JFK University Medical Center, the Neuroscience Institute is a leader nationwide.
The Neuroscience Institute’s accolades include Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) in Hackensack, NJ is ranked among the nation’s best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery by US News and World Report (#22). All Neuroscience Institute centers have earned the comprehensive Stroke Center designation from the Joint Commission, and the Institute includes Centers of Excellence in ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, and Cranial Surgery. The Institute has also earned additional recognitions for excellence from Healthgrades, the Joint Commission, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
The Neuroscience Institute boasts state of the art neurological technology including High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, Quicktome brain mapping and Surgical Theater augmented reality for brain surgery, the only sites in New Jersey offering these services. The Neuroscience Institute will soon offer Zap-X Radiosurgery with Synaptive MRI, allowing for the non-invasive treatment of brain tumors and other brain conditions in as little as one week from diagnosis, the first in the world to offer this technology pairing.