Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center adds new dimension in radiation treatment

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 13, 1999) -- The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has begun treating patients with a next-generation radiation therapy system that allows physicians to "shape" radiation treatments three-dimensionally to match irregularly contoured tumors.

This gives radiation oncologists the ability to deliver a full dose of radiation to the entire structure of a tumor while reducing the risk of damage to surrounding normal tissues, according to Ronald W. Thompson, M.D., Director of Radiation Oncology at Cedars-Sinai. While stereotactic radiation is used in other parts of the body, it is especially valuable in treating tumors in the brain and near the spinal cord.

Stereotactic radiation therapy directs precise dose of radiation to the tumor from a variety of preselected angles. No single "path" to the tumor is exposed to a large dose of radiation, sparing the normal tissues, but the tumor is bombarded by radiation from multiple directions. Critical structures, such as the brain stem and optic nerves, are protected from exposure.

The Radionics® ConforMAX Mini-Multileaf Collimator (mMLC(tm)), approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, is a device that attaches to a linear accelerator to focus and direct the radiation beam generated by the accelerator.

The mMLC can be used in traditional radiation therapy conducted over a period of days or weeks to expose a tumor to repeated doses of radiation. It also can be used to perform radiosurgery, which may be accomplished in a single visit, usually on an outpatient basis. Unlike traditional surgery, the surgeon uses the convergence of radiation beams to destroy a tumor, rather than a scalpel to remove it. Therefore, the tumor may be obliterated without "open" surgery and the associated recovery time and risk of complications.

The mMLC functions in conjunction with Radionics' Xplan® treatment planning software. Because tumors vary gr

Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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