New shaped-beam radiation delivery system provides patients with targeted cancer treatment

The Cleveland Clinic has installed the latest in radiation oncology technology, making it possible to treat a wider range of cancer patients with more precisely targeted radiation treatments that largely spare healthy tissues.

The Clinic recently installed Novalis Shaped Beam Radio-Surgeryä, a technology that enables the non-invasive delivery of precise doses of high-energy radiation to shrink or control cancerous or non-cancerous tumors throughout the body.

“This shaped-beam system allows us to continue our research and development efforts in the fields of automation, robotics and the fusion of imaging and therapy technologies,” said Roger Macklis, M.D., chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Clinic. “The general area of image-guided radiotherapy/radiosurgery is beginning to influence much of what we do in radiation medicine.”

By continuously shaping the beam of radiation to match the size and shape of a patient’s tumor from all angles, the new system ensures that a tumor receives the full prescription dose of radiation while protecting nearby healthy tissues.

“The Novalis system is unique radiation therapy equipment in Northeast Ohio,” said Derek Raghavan, M.D., director of The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center. “It’s a testament to the leadership and reputation of Roger Macklis and his team that we were able to attract this resource to the Clinic. It will allow our radiation oncologists to treat with even greater precision, and to reduce some of the side effects of radiotherapy.”

The system uses X-ray images taken immediately before treatment to pinpoint the position of a tumor to be treated. In general, patients can be treated on an outpatient basis. The new system is expected to be particularly beneficial for patients who previously had limited treatment options because they have tumors located near sensitive structures, such as the spinal cord, or because they have other complications, including prior treatment.

In addition to being used to treat some brain tumor patients, the new system will enable physicians to treat moving tumors in areas like the lung. Physicians also will use the system to treat tumors of the spine, kidney, breast and other areas.

Use of the new shaped-beam system mirrors current radiation oncology trends in which high-precision beams are coupled with computerized beam control and image-directed radiation therapy to target precise areas. The Novalis Shaped Beam Radio-Surgeryä is a product of BrainLAB, a privately held company headquartered in Munich, Germany.

For more information about The Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Radiation Oncology, visit www.ClevelandClinic.org/radonc/.

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