Missile-guided CyberKnife weapon against pancreatic cancer now available in Miami

Miami 06 May 2004CyberKnife Center of Miami will begin treating patients with pancreatic cancer, after clinical trials at Stanford University showed CyberKnife's robotic, image-guided system of delivering radiation would benefit most patients. Using a robotic arm and missile guidance technology, CyberKnife delivers targeted doses of radiation to often inoperable tumours with sub-millimeter accuracy.

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The center in Miami, the only one in the Southeast United States, treats tumours and cancer in the brain, spine, lungs, liver breast, head, neck and now pancreas. Treatment is covered by major insurance carriers and costs 20 to 45 percent less than conventional surgery.

"The Stanford study is important because the present alternatives for locally advanced pancreatic cancer leave a lot to be desired", stated Dr. Mark Perman, a Miami radiation oncologist trained to use the CyberKnife. "Using conventional radiation therapy at full dose is not always well tolerated. Patients frequently experience unpleasant side effects. Because the CyberKnife is able to target lesions more precisely, we avoid some of these temporary symptoms, control the growth of the tumour and relieve the pain associated with pancreatic cancer quickly."

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. Each year approximately 30.000 people are diagnosed. The normal treatment for this often inoperable tumour is external radiation and chemotherapy, delivered over weeks to months. Most patients die by the end of the first year, and less than five percent survive five years.

In the Stanford study, all patients successfully tolerated their robotic radiation treatment, delivered in a single day. Practically no toxicity was encountered. The clinical trials were so successful that protocols for lower radiation dosages were discontinued so that all patients in the study could benefit from the optimum dosage with the CyberKnife.

More than 7000 patients worldwide have been treated by the CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery system at 16 centres worldwide. Developed by a Stanford University neurosurgeon, it is the only robotic image-guided radiation system that enables the precise targeting and treatment of tumours anywhere in the body. The CyberKnife Center of Miami is an independent, free-standing centre and is open to select community physicians who have been trained and credentialed in CyberKnife radiosurgery. More news on CyberKnife is available in the VMW January 2004 article Growth of extracranial radiosurgery highlighted at Annual CyberKnife Users' Meeting.


Leslie Versweyveld

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