Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jefferson Neurosurgeons, Radiation Oncologists Wrap Radiation Around Spine For Cancer Pain Relief

Date:
June 27, 2005
Source:
Thomas Jefferson University
Summary:
Using the most advanced radiation technology available in the region, neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Philadelphia have for the first time wrapped beams of radiation around a patient's spine, relieving pain from cancerous tumors while avoiding the spinal cord. The technology -- shaped beam surgery -- relies on sophisticated computers to tailor the shape and intensity of radiation to fit the size and shape of the tumor while sparing healthy tissue.

Using the most advanced radiation technology currently available in the region, neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia have for the first time wrapped beams of radiation around a patient’s spine, relieving pain from several cancerous tumors there while avoiding the spinal cord.

Related Articles


The technology, called shaped beam surgery, relies on sophisticated computers to tailor the shape and intensity of radiation beams to fit the exact size and shape of the tumor – all while sparing healthy tissue. It enables doctors to treat a range of hard-to-reach benign and malignant tumors in the brain and spine they couldn’t treat before, often avoiding invasive surgery and speeding the patient’s recovery.

Neurosurgeon David Andrews, M.D., professor of neurosurgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and director of the Division of Neuro-oncologic Neurosurgery and Stereotactic Radiosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, used shaped beam surgery to treat the patient, a 46-year-old woman from Levittown, Pa., who had two tumors on her spine that had spread from another cancer elsewhere in the body. One tumor was pressing on the spinal cord, causing considerable pain. Treating the tumors with standard radiation was impossible because she had already received spine radiation more than 20 years earlier for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

According to one of her physicians, neurosurgeon Ashwini Sharan, M.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery at Jefferson Medical College, the woman would have needed three separate surgeries, including abdominal surgery to reach the cancer in her lumbar spine, and back surgery to reconstruct her spine with medical screws.

He explains that cancer in the spine is almost invariably considered advanced metastatic disease, and patients usually have an uncertain prognosis. “The only other option besides radiosurgery is reconstructive spinal surgery. Recovery from a spine operation and reconstructive surgery is three to six months, and surgeons and patients with spine cancer must weigh the costs and benefits because of the trauma and pain involved with surgery. “The goal is to keep patients independent, pain-free and ensure a good quality of life,” says Dr. Sharan. The patient, he notes, avoided a six-week hospital stay and was able to be at home and relatively pain-free.

“We can wrap doses around structures such as the spinal cord, and can create a very high dose of radiation and leave the cord untouched,” says Dr. Andrews, who is director of the Radiosurgery Units at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience. “There’s no other technology out there that can do this.” It is available now only at Jefferson in the Delaware Valley and in a small number of medical centers in the nation.

“Shaped beam surgery is a new tool for selected patients,” says Walter J. Curran Jr., M.D., professor and chair of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson Medical College and clinical director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. He notes that the technology provides an improved ability to specifically target a tumor with real-time imaging.

“As oncologists continue to improve treatments and enable many individuals with metastatic cancer to live longer, more productive lives, expectations and quality-of-life issues become paramount,” notes neurosurgeon James Harrop, M.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery at Jefferson Medical College and neurosurgery director of the Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley at Thomas Jefferson University. More patients with metastatic breast cancer, for example, are living longer, healthier lives than ever before.

“As we move forward in using this technology for spinal cancer patients, we will continue to focus on treating the individual’s pain,” Dr. Andrews says. “One of the promises of this technology is more rapid relief of spinal cord pain and more rapid disease control.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Thomas Jefferson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Thomas Jefferson University. "Jefferson Neurosurgeons, Radiation Oncologists Wrap Radiation Around Spine For Cancer Pain Relief." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050627065449.htm>.
Thomas Jefferson University. (2005, June 27). Jefferson Neurosurgeons, Radiation Oncologists Wrap Radiation Around Spine For Cancer Pain Relief. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050627065449.htm
Thomas Jefferson University. "Jefferson Neurosurgeons, Radiation Oncologists Wrap Radiation Around Spine For Cancer Pain Relief." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050627065449.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins