GPS-like System Targets Radiation to Tumors
A new treatment that uses a precise a GPS-like system to track prostate cancer tumors is now being offered to patients undergoing radiation therapy at Cedars-Sinai's Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. The monitoring system, called Calypso, allows radiation beams to more precisely target the cancer as it gives real-time positioning information that allows the radiation beams to focus directly on the cancer.
Since many organs in the body are constantly moving – including the prostate gland – this technology provides a higher level of accuracy in the delivery of radiation to the cancer while minimizing potential damage to healthy tissue.
"Our continuing efforts to provide the best therapy options to our patients include a commitment to helping them maintain or improve their quality of life during treatment," said Howard M. Sandler, M.D., chair of radiation oncology and the Ronald H. Bloom Family Chair in Cancer Therapeutics at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. "This system allows us to deliver radiation more accurately and directly to the tumor, minimizing the risk of side effects and damage to other vital organs – a real benefit to patients."
In May, Dr. Sandler was the lead author of a clinical study published in Urology, which demonstrated that prostate cancer patients who were treated with radiation and monitored with the Calypso System reported significantly reduced prostate cancer side effects than those whose radiation was not complemented by Calypso.
Cedars-Sinai's Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute is one of only a handful of cancer centers in Southern California to offer this advanced technology to its prostate cancer patients.
While the system has been cleared by the FDA for use in radiation therapy for prostate cancer, the technology will be studied for body-wide applications. To date, more than 6,000 prostate cancer patients nationwide have received radiation treatments using the Calypso’s localization system.
Before radiation treatment, patients undergo a simple outpatient procedure. Using ultrasound guidance, three transponders, each the size of a grain of rice, are implanted into the prostate through the rectum. The transponders then communicate with Calypso throughout radiation treatment using safe radiofrequency waves.
In contrast, during standard radiation treatment for prostate cancer, radiation oncologists expand the treatment target area to ensure the moving target is irradiated. In the process, more healthy tissue near the prostate may be affected, leading to a higher rate of side effects.