Issue Table of Contents Next: Introducing Integrative Oncology at the AMITA Health Cancer Institute

Cancer Care Programs at the AMITA Health Cancer Institute

Program Spotlight:
The AMITA Health Cancer Institute
Breast Care Program

At the Breast Care Program at the AMITA Health Cancer Institute, the patient is the priority — starting from the first abnormal mammogram through diagnosis and treatment. Accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancers (NAPBC), the Breast Care Program provides highly efficient care, coordinated by certified Breast Care Nurse Navigators. The expedited care process at the Breast Care Program increases patient satisfaction and reduces stress for patients and their families.

The Breast Care Program also has an active genetic counseling program to help patients and their families understand the risk of cancer and make informed decisions about preventive treatment. Rapid cell-free testing techniques are being used to detect genetic and other biomarkers that can help guide therapy selection and diagnose and track tumor progression.

In addition to precision medicine techniques, the AMITA Health Cancer Institute offers leading-edge cancer care approaches, including image-guided core needle biopsy, nipple-sparing breast cancer surgery and precision radiation therapy using the latest Varian TrueBeam with open 4D CT scanner technology.

Program Spotlight:
Personalized Medicine at the
Thoracic Cancer Program

The Thoracic Cancer Program is applying the latest evidence-based technologies in personalized medicine to cancer care. With next-generation sequencing, tumor biopsies can be quickly analyzed to detect hundreds of mutations; this information can be used to select treatments based on the specific tumor type and its responsiveness to therapy. Applying these and other advances in cancer care makes it possible to predict which treatment options will have the greatest effect and develop treatment plans tailored to each patient. For example, patients with non-small cell lung cancer who have a specific marker called PD-L1 may be candidates for first-line treatment with immunotherapy.1 Unlike chemotherapy, immunotherapies harness the patient’s immune system to better seek out and kill cancer cells, with fewer side effects.

Next-Generation Sequencing Matches Patients to Treatment

An 85-year-old patient with newly diagnosed metastatic non-small cell lung cancer was referred to the AMITA Health Cancer Institute for a second opinion. Initial conventional genetic testing had failed to detect a targetable mutation and she was felt to be a poor candidate for chemotherapy. The patient met with Jay Dalal, MD, FACP, hematologist/oncologist, who chose to analyze her tumor using a more sensitive next-generation sequencing technique. Dr. Dalal was able to detect a mutation in EGFR that predicts a high response to an oral “non-chemotherapy” targeted drug, erlotinib. The patient was started on erlotinib, which targets the EGFR protein to block cancer cell survival and growth, but with far less toxicity than traditional chemotherapy. After one year of treatment, her most recent imaging demonstrated a complete response to therapy. Before coming to the AMITA Health Cancer Institute, this patient and her family were hesitant to undergo any treatment and were considering hospice. Today, she is continuing on her oral medication and has no evidence of active lung cancer.

“Each patient’s cancer is unique. We are increasingly able to use genetic and molecular testing to develop a personalized treatment plan that maximizes response and minimizes unnecessary toxicities.”

– Jay Dalal, MD, FACP, Hematologist/Oncologist

Patients who are referred to the Thoracic Cancer Program have access to a large, multidisciplinary team of experts who are dedicated to thoracic oncology. The team meets each week at the Thoracic and General Oncology Conference to evaluate patient test results and reach an evidence-based consensus on the best treatment approach for each patient. They seek out leading-edge approaches that meet each patient’s needs, including immunotherapies and combination treatments that minimize the unwanted side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Jay S Dalal, M.D.

View Full Profile 

Program Spotlight:
Interventional Pulmonology
AMITA Health Cancer Institute

Interventional Pulmonology at the AMITA Health Cancer Institute is a comprehensive program that offers a range of minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The team of fully dedicated interventional pulmonologists and advanced practice providers focus on the diagnosis, staging and palliation of thoracic malignancies as well as other thoracic, pleural and critical care diseases, including lung cancer, endobronchial or endotracheal tumors, lung nodules, lymphadenopathy, hemoptysis, pleural effusion and airway obstructions.

The Interventional Pulmonology team at AMITA Health Cancer Institute is the largest group of board-certified interventional pulmonologists in the region, with academic affiliations with University of Illinois Chicago and Loyola University Medical Center.


  1. Sacher AG, Gandhi L. Biomarkers for the clinical use of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in non-small-cell lung cancer: a review. JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(9):1217-1222.

  2. Han JY, Kim SH, Lee YS, et al. Comparison of targeted next-generation sequencing with conventional sequencing for predicting the responsiveness to epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) therapy in never-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma. Lung Cancer. 2014;85(2):161-167.


Table of Contents: