Monday October 1 10:24 AM ET
"Robot System Zaps Tough-To-Treat Spine Tumors"
Robot System Zaps Tough-To-Treat Spine Tumors
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A robotic system that can
precisely target radiation beams may help doctors treat spinal
tumors and other abnormalities that may otherwise be considered
untreatable, new research suggests.
Doctors at Stanford University in California have treated a
small group of spine-disease patients with the so-called
CyberKnife system. The system uses two x-ray cameras to provide
"real-time" images that guide a robot-controlled radiation beam
to the treatment site. Researchers say the system allows them
to more precisely target the spine abnormality, or lesion, and
leave normal tissue alone.
Dr. Stephen I. Ryu and colleagues report their results in
the October issue of Neurosurgery. One of the co-authors, Dr.
John R. Adler, Jr., is the CEO of Accuray, the Sunnyvale,
California-based company that developed CyberKnife. The system
has been used since 1994 for treating brain tumors.
In their study, the researchers followed 16 patients
treated with the system for various types of spinal lesions,
including tumors and certain types of malformations. None had
complications during the procedure. And among tumor patients
who had been followed for at least 6 months, none had seen
their tumors come back, Ryu's team reports.
Radiation has been one treatment option for spinal tumors
and other lesions. But it comes with the risk of injuring the
spinal column, which limits its use.
"If the radiation dose can be confined more precisely to
the treatment (area)," Ryu and his colleagues note, "the
likelihood of tumor control should increase at the same time
that the risk of spinal cord injury is mitigated."
The safety and effectiveness of the CyberKnife approach in
spine treatment still requires more study, they point out.
"This experience," they write, "demonstrates the
feasibility of image-guided robotic radiosurgery for previously
untreatable spinal lesions."
SOURCE: Neurosurgery 2001;49:838-846.
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