New breakthrough treatment for spinal cancer patients at Mount Sinai

New York 16 May 2007The Mount Sinai Medical Center is the only hospital in New York City using the Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery System on spinal cancer. Novalis is the most advanced Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) technology available to treat cancer tumours in the spine. Doctors at Mount Sinai are at the forefront of this medical breakthrough in neurosurgery and radiation oncology, using this technology to control deadly and complicated tumours from the spine for the first time ever.


"Hope is being given to patients with malignant and ultimately fatal spinal tumours where hope was never before available", stated Dr. Isabelle Germano, Professor of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the Radiosurgery Programme at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. "All it takes is one thirty-minute out-patient treatment of pinpointed radiation and the tumour shrinks along with the pain from the cancer. Now cancer spreading to the spine doesn't mean a lifetime of pain or a wheelchair for a patient anymore."

Extremely precise, highly focused radiation is beamed directly into the spinal tumour, while sparing the normal surrounding tissue. Mount Sinai has had the Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery System technology since 2005. It is routinely used on the brain, head, neck, prostate and other tumours in the body with success. It is a friendly outpatient, non-invasive and non-surgical incisionless procedure. Patient risk is lowered, outcomes are improved, quality of life for patients enhanced, cancer pain eliminated, and the tumour is destroyed. Patients can continue to live a pain-free life and maintain complete mobility.

"The future of radiation oncology and stopping cancer in its track is now at Mount Sinai. This is the best treatment available for tumors that have spread to the spine with the least risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue", stated Dr. Sheryl Green, Co-Director of the Radiosurgery Programme and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Mount Sinai. "We are now able to treat metastatic cancer that has spread to the spine, increasing the patients' quality of life, keeping them functional and pain free for a longer amount of time with this new technology. The biggest benefit of Novalis is that it's the most conformal type of tumour treatment available at the present time."

The state-of-the-art 3D imaging guided SRS system called Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery System works by concentrating the energy of many different beams of radiation on a single site. None of the beams individually, is strong enough to harm the healthy tissue it passes through, but at the point where the beams converge - the site of tumour - their combined power can destroy the abnormal cells and interfere with their ability to multiply, thus shrinking and controlling the growth of cancer. SRS matches the shape of the beam to the size of the tumour no matter where it is, delivering radiation with more precision than any other system.

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses the Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the United States' oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 50.000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450.000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as an expert in groundbreaking clinical and basic-science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centres, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.

Leslie Versweyveld

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