World’s First “Infusionarium” Comes to CHOC Children’s

Any parent who’s ever tried to get the attention of a child engrossed in a video game or movie can certainly appreciate the concept. Our new, multi-screen “Infusionarium” is an innovative video experience offering a welcome distraction for young patients undergoing treatments that often last for hours.

The CHOC Children’s Infusionarium is the first program of its kind to combine immersive video technology with life-saving infusion therapy, such as chemotherapy or IV antibiotics. Located inside The Dhont Family Foundation Outpatient Infusion Center (OPI) at CHOC Children’s, the jumbo screens and fabric-draped interior look more like a deluxe home theater than a hospital treatment room. CHOC Infsuionarium

Each patient chair is equipped with a laptop, headphones and wireless keyboard. Up to four patients, age 2 or older, may play at a time, together across four screens or individually. Patients may choose from an extensive menu of video options:

  • Watch popular movies
  • Play favorite Xbox video games
  • Skype with friends
  • Take “live” virtual tours, including the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Surf the Internet, watch YouTube videos
  • Check email
  • Listen to music or podcasts using high-end, noise-canceling headphones

Parents may also use the Infusionarium to watch educational videos.

Therapy for Chemotherapy

The soothing space and mental distraction may help reduce the physical side effects of chemotherapy.

“One patient used to dread coming in for treatments due to intense bouts of nausea that required multiple medications,” said Leonard Sender, M.D. medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s. “Today, when he undergoes treatment within the Infusionarium, he doesn’t even use anti-nausea medications.” Plans are underway to formally evaluate all possible patient benefits.

The Infusionarium was developed for CHOC by My Bridge 4 Life, a company that uses emerging technologies and digital media to create “immersive healing environments.” Founders Roger Holzberg and Allison Mills collaborated with Dr. Sender to launch a “pop-up” pilot Infusionarium at CHOC last summer. The results were so encouraging that CHOC moved forward with the new pod inside the OPI. Funding was made possible by proceeds from the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K Run/Walk.

Read more in The New York Times.

Learn more about the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s.


Dr. Leonard Sender Discusses Genomic Cancer Research

Genomic cancer treatment examines a patient’s genomes to reveal individualized treatment to best battle cancer, Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s, tells “American Health Journal.”

Using this method, scientists for the first time can devise science-directed medicine, rather than evidence-based medicine, Dr. Sender says.

Learn more about genomic cancer research in “American Health Journal,” a television program that airs on PBS and other national network affiliates that reach more than 30 million households.

Each 30-minute episode features six segments with a diverse range of medical specialists discussing a full spectrum of health topics. For more information, visit

Leonard Sender, M.D., received his medical education in South Africa and completed his pediatrics internship and residency at UC Irvine Medical Center. His pediatrics hematology/oncology subspecialty training included Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

Get more information about referring patients to CHOC, including a referral information directory, services directory and referral guidelines.

CHOC’s AYA Cancer Efforts Earn National Attention

The adolescent and young adult cancer movement has helped define patients by age rather than disease and raise awareness of the population’s unique needs, Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s, tells “The Huffington Post.”

Dr. Sender’s and CHOC’s leadership role in the adolescent and young adult cancer movement were prominently featured recently on the popular online news site that covers a range of topics such as health care, technology, business, politics and entertainment.

The three-part series was centered on the recent Society of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (SAYAO) conference held in partnership with CHOC’s Cancer Institute.

The first piece featured an interview with Dr. Sender who is also the director of the Cancer Institute’s adolescent and young adult program and developed SAYAO. Dr. Sender discussed the movement’s achievements, its ongoing priorities and goals, as well as its future.

“I believe the movement as a whole is going to help define four big age groups of people getting cancers, and that we are going to start addressing cancer in terms of what it means for those age groups,” he said. “So, what does it mean for a geriatric patient who is different from an adult who is different from an AYA who is different from a pediatric patient?”

CHOCThe series’ second installment, “Advances in the Young Adult Cancer Movement: Why SAYAO Is a Big Deal,” discussed the origins of SAYAO and its efforts to create an academic space for medical professionals to discuss and educate one another on the specific topics relevant to this patient population.

The article also provided an overview of the two-day conference held in October.

The series’ third piece, “New Innovation in the AYA Cancer Movement: The Future is Here,” detailed new technology discussed at the conference that could factor in future treatment of adolescents and young adults with cancer.

For example, My Bridge 4 Life, an organization whose products use technology to help people improve healthcare management, developed the Infusionarium at CHOC’s Cancer Institute. The Infusionarium, which ran as a pilot in 2013, incorporated sensory elements and media to help combat the isolation, boredom and stress often felt by patients during cancer treatment.

Also, My Bridge 4 Life and SeventyK announced a new video survival guide and eBook for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

First Annual Society of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Conference Emphasizes Unique Needs of Underserved Patient Population

CHOC Children’s recently partnered with the Society of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (SAYAO) to host the first-ever national conference for healthcare professionals who are focused on improving care and outcomes for patients between the ages of 15-39.

“While survival rates for pediatric cancer have increased dramatically, survival rates for adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer have not improved in almost 30 years due to the limited research available,” said Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s, who leads the hospital’s AYA program and who founded SAYAO . “By creating an AYA healthcare professional community, we can increase clinical trial participation, accelerate research and improve quality of life.”

While 70,000 adolescents and young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year, only 2 percent of AYA patients are treated in clinical trials versus 60 percent of children under age 15.

During the SAYAO conference, experts, working closely with Dr. Sender, revealed two new innovative tools for AYA patients: a mobile app for physicians and patients that will help increase oncology clinical trial participation and an online video and eBook support guide. Speakers included Dr. Roni Zeiger, former chief health strategist at Google and founder/CEO of, the largest social community for patients and caregivers, and Ryan Panchadsaram, senior advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.  

“This event is yet another historic milestone for the young adult cancer movement,” said Matthew Zachary, Founder/CEO at Stupid Cancer, the nation’s dominant AYA cancer charity. “As a young adult survivor myself, It’s exciting to see such open collaboration and innovation between medical professionals, AYA advocates and industry experts in the same place at the same time.”

During the conference, Huffington Post reporter Emily Drake interviewed Dr. Sender about the future of the AYA cancer movement and his contributions to the field. Her three-part blog series can be viewed by clicking here: