The Department of Radiotherapy was granted Regional Cancer Centre status by the Ministry in 2002. An Oncology ward was established in 2006. The MoHFW, Government of India, has subsequently accorded sanction for construction of a separate RCC building. Accordingly, a separate block for Regional Cancer Centre with a capacity for 82 inpatient beds (including 20 special ward beds), outpatient facilities, day care center, ICU, etc has been constructed. The RCC building, with wards and OPD blocks, was inaugurated on 23.01.2008.
In 2008, JIPMER was made an Institution of National Importance under an Act of Parliament (JIPMER Puducherry Act, 2008) and charged with responsibilities to develop teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in all branches. All cancer treatments including high precision Intensity-modulated and Image Guided Radiotherapy as well as latest chemotherapy are given free-of-charge to poor patients and high precision radiotherapy at very token charges for affordable patients to cover the cost of consumables. This makes JIPMER a unique center where poor patients can get free treatments for cancer treated with the state-of-the-art technology. Patients below the poverty line are given benefit through Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) scheme where high-quality treatment is provided free to the patient. More than 35 patients have already availed this facility since July 2012.
The Department of Medical Oncology was started in 2009 and has been allotted 20 beds. Surgical Oncology facility, with 20 beds is now under the administrative control of the Department of Surgery and is functioning in the super specialty block with one Operation Theater. A separate Department of Nuclear Medicine equipped with one Dual-head SPECT-CT started functioning since 2009 in Super specialty block.
Milestones in Development of RCC JIPMER
- 1964 – Setting up of radiology Department in JIPMER and provision of one Cobalt-60 teletherapy unit under “Colombo Plan”
- 1971 – Preloaded brachytherapy facilities started at JIPMER using radium & caesium sources.
- 1980 – BARC manual loading kit for brachytherapy used.
- 1982 – 1st computerized treatment planning.
- 1987 – Department of Radiology bifurcated into Departments of Radio-Diagnosis and Radiotherapy.
- 1993 – Theratron 780C teletherapy unit commissioned in JIPMER Radiotherapy department.
- 1996 – High dose rate after loading brachytherapy commissioned.
- 2002 – Department of Radiotherapy JIPMER accorded RCC status.
- 2004 – Single energy linear accelerator commissioned in RCC JIPMER.
- 2006 – A 30 bedded oncology ward started.
- 2008 – Commissioning of X-Ray simulator; new RCC building completed & commissioned with 82 beds & day care centre.
- 2008 – Hosted AMPICON (Annual Conference of Association of Medical Physicists of India, TN & PY Chapter).
- 2009 – Starting of Dept of Medical Oncology from new RCC building.
- May: 1st batch of MD (Radiotherapy) students enrolled.
- 1st RCC – CME held in September.
- 2010 – Addition of new faculty, medical physics staff.
- April: 2nd RCC CME held on Gynecological cancers & Nursing care in oncology.
- August: 3rd RCC CME on Breast cancers.
- August: 1st batch of B.Sc Medical Radiation technology students enrolled.
- November: 4th RCC CME on Head & Neck cancers held.
- 2011 – New equipment block started in RCC with new ARIA TPS, CLINAC iX linear accelerator, GammaMed Plus iX HDR, T simulator.
- Telemedicine facilities started with link up with GH Yanam, Mandya, Kidwai Institute Bangalore & Kancheepuram for practitioners to directly consult experts in JIPMER without having to send their patients over.
- April: 5th RCC CME on Bladder & prostate cancers held.
- May: Number of MD (RT) students increased per year to 4.
- August: 6th RCC CME on Gliomas held.
- August: 1st batch of medical oncology DM fellows enrolled.
- 1st 3D-CRT treatments started in November 2011.
- 2012 – January: 1st IMRT treatments started;
- February: 1st Rapid Arc treatments started.
- March: 7th RCC CME held on epithelial ovarian malignancies.
- April: 8th RCC CME held on palliative care.
- September: On-Board Imager (OBI) installed, Stereotactic RT enabled, Special ward with ICU facility started
- October: The Department of Radiotherapy, RCC-JIPMER hosted (AROITNPYCON-2012) annual conference of Association of Radiation Oncologists India (TN & PY chapter).
- 2013 – January: 1st Bone Marrow Transplant treatment started.
Since JIPMER is a major referral centre, there is a continuous flow of patients from within Puducherry region, Karaikal, from neighboring districts in Tamilnadu State like Cuddalore, Villupuram, Thiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram, Dharmapuri, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, and also a few patients from Chittoor and Cuddapah districts from Andhra Pradesh State. WHO-sponsored cancer detection camps were conducted in some of the underdeveloped areas adjoining Puducherry and Karaikal regions have resulted in detecting and treating many early-stage cancer patients. The department has been treating more than 2500 cancer patients annually and around 250 patients receive radiation and chemotherapy every day.
Teaching Programmes in RCC
The institute activities include an extensive programme of postgraduate medical education involving the training of specialists in general and super-specialty areas in all disciplines of medical sciences.
Continuing Medical Education Programmes
With so many developments taking place in the last two years and with the availability of sufficient faculty in RCC, it was decided to conduct quarterly CMEs on various topics in cancer detection and management. Accordingly, first CME on “Colorectal Cancers” was held on 13th September 2009. The RCC has since conducted eight CMEs so far as well as a regional conference of Physicists in 2008; with its first Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Chapter Association of Radiation Oncologists India (AROITNPYCON2012) scheduled on 5th – 7th October 2012. All these CMEs were each well attended by more than 150 delegates and proved to be a major success. A bulletin, highlighting the topics covered were also released during the CMEs and distributed to the delegates as well as to all the RCCs across the country.
One of the reasons for upgrading JIPMER as an Institution of National Importance is to facilitate quality research in all disciplines of medical sciences – basic, para-clinical, and clinical. Accordingly, all the faculty and staff are encouraged to do the research in basic, clinical and field aspects and to publish the results in the peer-reviewed journals of international repute with good impact factors. A Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) vets the research proposals which then sent to Institute Ethics Committee (IEC) for ethical clearance. All research activities in JIPMER have to obtain IEC clearance before starting the research activities. Most of the faculties in the RCC are currently conducting their researches, which were already cleared by the SAC and then by the IEC of JIPMER.
List of Facilities presently available at RCC JIPMER
- High precision dual energy linear accelerator CLINAC iX with OBI and ECLIPSE version 10.0 TPS capable of 3D-CRT,
- IMRT, IGRT, VMAT, Electrons, SBRT teletherapy.
- Frameless stereotactic radio-surgery.
- Single energy linear accelerator for conventional teletherapy.
- Cobalt-60 teletherapy unit.
- Nucletron micro-selectron HDR brachytherapy unit.
- Varian Gamma Med Plus iX HDR brachytherapy unit.
- Bone marrow transplant facility.
- X-Ray simulator.
- One 500 mA X-Ray unit; one 100 mA mobile X-ray unit.
- Brachytherapy done include: intra-cavitary, intra-luminal, interstitial & mould therapy.
- Both day care & inpatient chemotherapy.
- Blood irradiation for transplant of stem cells.
Since 2011, the RCC, JIPMER is well networked with other RCCs around the country where telemedicine networking is available and also with PHC in Yanam, Mandya, Kidwai (Bangalore) and Kancheepuram.
JIPMER also proudly released a bi-annually scientific journal on the occasion of AROITNPYCON2012 to foster research and publications in the oncology community. The very 1st issue of this journal was released in the inauguration programme of AROITNPYCON2012; and in which featured articles include contributions from institutions all over India like AIIMS, RCC Trivandrum, etc.