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Cyberknife add on Increses Odds


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7/25/2006 2:41:00 PM -0400

CyberKnife effective for lung cancer

PITTSBURGH, July 25 (UPI) -- A computer program that helps CyberKnife radiotherapy machines follow targets as patients breathe offers new hope for lung cancer.

The CyberKnife irradiates a tumor from all sides by sending 100 to 150 harmless, small-dose beams of radiation through the normal tissues of the body. They meet at the disease site and deliver 10 times the dose of radiation possible with a conventional, one-beam machine since normal tissues are spared.

Because lung cancers can move up to 4 cm during normal breathing, CyberKnife technology has not been used to treat them because too much healthy tissue would have been destroyed in the process.

However, a 30-member research team that changed this picture is based at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and was led by medical physicist Cihat Ozhasoglu. The researchers developed a program called Synchrony, which follows radiation targets by tracking external markers on the patient's chest and abdomen. The program then tells the CyberKnife's robotic arm when and how to move to keep the target always within range.

The higher-radiation dose means that lung tumors can be treated in one to three sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes, instead of the 20 to 30 15-minute sessions required by conventional radiotherapy.

Ozhasoglu will present his team's findings Aug. 2 at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine in Orlando, Fla.

There are 45 CyberKnife sites in the United States and 76 worldwide.


© Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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