May 4, 2006 Loyola University Health System has become the first hospital in Illinois to treat a patient with Novalis® shaped-beam body radiosurgery, an advanced, computer-assisted therapy that preserves nearby healthy tissue as it precisely targets tumors of the lung, spine, head and neck, liver, prostate and other areas.
“It will be especially useful for selected patients in the treatment of lung cancer, which is traditionally challenging for radiation treatment because the lung moves when the patient breathes,” said Dr. Bahman Emami, chair, department of radiation oncology, Loyola University Health System, Maywood, Ill. “The technology delivers highly accurate doses of radiation to tumors subject to movement.”
Loyola was the first hospital in Illinois two years ago to treat brain tumors with shaped-beam radiosurgery. Now the technology is expanded and upgraded for tumors and lesions in other parts of the body.
“The system delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor with pinpoint accuracy while minimizing radiation’s effects on surrounding tissues,” said Emami. “The system continuously shapes the radiation treatment beam to match the size and dimensions of a patient’s tumor from all angles.”
This ensures that the tumor receives the full prescription dose while protecting nearby healthy tissue, especially important for irregularly shaped tumors, Emami noted. Reduced side effects and better treatment outcomes are the result.
Linda Genna, 50, of Brookfield, Illinois, a patient with lung cancer, began her daily outpatient treatment with the new equipment at Loyola on Monday April 24, and finished Friday, April 28, under the guidance of Dr. Edward Melian. “I was thrilled to complete treatment in just five days,” said Linda. “Traditional radiation requires 6 to 7 weeks of treatment.”
Virtually painless, the treatment is usually done on an outpatient basis. The patient is awake throughout the procedure. Shaped-beam body radiosurgery and radiotherapy:
-requires fewer treatments than standard radiotherapy (five sessions vs. 33 sessions for a lung cancer)
-effectively targets irregularly shaped tumors
-uses noninvasive immobilization techniques with real-time imaging for maximum accuracy and precision
-spares more normal tissue from radiation
“The system is an alternative for patients who cannot undergo conventional surgery because of tumor location or because of other illnesses,” said Melian, assistant professor of radiation oncology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Already, Loyola uses shaped-beam noninvasive radiosurgery with pinpoint accuracy to treat brain and base-of-skull tumors with a precision of one-millimeter, allowing sparing of nearby critical structures. In order to shape the beam for surgery, the system uses very fine leaves (3 mm wide) to mirror the contour of the tumor or lesion from any angle. A high-dose photon beam is delivered to the tumor or lesion through the shaping device.
The new system has the added capability to specifically position the patient for precise treatment of tumors within the body.
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