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CyberKnife Software Helps


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New Software called "Synchrony" Detects Cancer Easier

July 27, 2006 9:16 a.m. EST

Ankit Gupta - All Headline News Staff Writer

Washington, DC (AHN) - Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have created a program called Synchrony, which is an addition to CyberKnife, a radiotherapy robot used to operate on cancer patients.

The new software allows for easier detection of tumors thereby raising new hope against lung cancer. It also allows CyberKnife to accurately target tumors that move as a result of breathing.

Synchrony instructs the robotic arm to move the radiation source (a linear accelerator that produces x-rays) in sync with the tumor motion. The CyberKnife blasts the tumors 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.

In the past, scientists say CyberKnife was not used for lung cancer patients because it caused too much tissue damage.

Scientists say that this is due to shifting of the tumor, which can move up and down in a lung by four centimeter when a patient breathes, making it difficult to detect its location.

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-minute sessions required by conventional radiotherapy.

However, Cihat Ozhasoglu who led the research with along with 30-member research team claims that it is too early to determine the long-term effectiveness of the technique.

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

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