USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital launches CyberKnife non-invasive robotic tumour treatment

Sunnyvale 19 December 2002USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital in Los Angeles has treated its first 25 patients using the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System developed by Accuray Incorporated. The CyberKnife is a non-invasive medical device incorporating image-guided robotics to ablate tumours and other lesions throughout the body using precisely directed beams of radiation. USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital is one of 39 designated sites by the National Cancer Institute and also the first designated site to offer this non-invasive, robotic surgery. The hospital began treating patients with the CyberKnife technology in mid-October 2002.


"The CyberKnife complements and enhances our existing radiosurgery programme by enabling frameless radiosurgery throughout the brain and spine. Elimination of the stereotactic head frame expands the surgeon's options in designing the optimal treatment plan for the patient. We now have the option to treat in stages, usually over 3 to 5 sessions, to better irradiate larger targets and tumours that are located near sensitive structures. Another significant advantage is that we will be able to radiosurgically treat patients with tumours in the spine which we could not do before with our existing cobalt-based system", stated Michael Apuzzo, M.D., professor of Neurological Surgery at the USC/Norris Cancer Hospital and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

The CyberKnife has seen increasing acceptance at many institutions that already have a brain radiosurgery system in place because the CyberKnife expands the treatable indications to areas beyond the brain that have historically been untreatable with conventional radiosurgical devices.

Zbigniew Petrovich, M.D., chief of Radiation Oncology at USC/Norris, commented: "This revolutionary technology provides a non-invasive, effective treatment for select cancer patients. Promising a better quality of life during and after treatment, the CyberKnife is a very exciting development for our patients. We are meticulously familiarising ourselves with this technology and plan to expand its use beyond the brain and spine to organs throughout the body as our experience increases over the next several months."

Ken Dalebout, Associate Administrator of Operations at USC/Norris, remarked: "USC/Norris is pleased to be the first hospital in Los Angeles to offer the CyberKnife treatment. This definitely establishes USC as the premier location for radiation treatment in terms of quality and range of treatment options in Southern California. We are also excited about being the first to partner with Accuray in the placement programme to bring state-of-the-art technology to our cancer patients. The placement arrangement aligns USC with Accuray to continue to introduce the latest advances ahead of the market."

"At Accuray, we are obviously very excited about the successful implementation of our CyberKnife placement programme. The fact that the USC/Norris team was able to treat 25 patients over a span of the first eight weeks is tremendous news. Several additional placement sites are expected to begin operation across the United States next year", stated Thierry Thaure, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Accuray.

The CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive robotic radiosurgery device that can ablate tumours and other lesions without open surgery. It delivers multiple beams of precisely directed radiation that converge upon the tumour while minimising injury to surrounding healthy tissue. The CyberKnife is the only system that integrates image-guidance and robotic delivery of radiation.

Existing conventional systems rely on an external metal frame attached to the skull for target localisation, which limits their application to lesions in the head. The CyberKnife instead uses internal reference points in the anatomy, skeletal landmarks or small implanted markers, to enable frameless treatment of lesions anywhere in the body.

The University of Southern California with USC University Hospital and USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, supported by the Keck School of Medicine, is one of the United States' elite academic medical centres. The USC faculty have been innovators in the field of stereotactic radiosurgery performing the first stereotactic radiosurgery in the western United States. The CyberKnife team is directed by Michael Apuzzo, M.D., and Zbigniew Petrovich, M.D. The team practises at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, a 60-bed oncological speciality hospital and USC University Hospital, a 269-bed tertiary medical centre.

Accuray is a privately held corporation whose primary focus is to revolutionise the treatment of solid cancers throughout the body by the precise delivery of high doses of radiation using the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System. Through the development and promotion of the CyberKnife system and participation in ongoing clinical research at prominent academic hospitals, Accuray will help make stereotactic radiosurgery a viable and accessible option for patients all over the world. More CyberKnife news is available in the VMW December 2002 article Accuray teams with Medtronic Surgical Navigation Technologies and President Medical Technologies Corporation.

Leslie Versweyveld

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