U.Va. Health System adds new cancer treatment center

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Oct. 26, 2004 -- Virginia residents and those from throughout the mid-Atlantic region will soon have access to one of the worlds' most advanced cancer treatment systems. The University of Virginia Health System has installed a $2.7 million TomoTherapy Hi-Art System. The radiation therapy machine should be ready to treat its first patient in late October. "We are excited to be the first medical center in the Commonwealth to offer this state-of-the-art treatment option to cancer patients and their families and physicians," said R. Edward Howell, Vice President and CEO of the U.Va. Medical Center.

Unlike traditional radiation therapy, which generally delivers treatment to a tumor from a few different directions, the TomoTherapy System precisely pinpoints the tumor and delivers radiation from 360 degrees.

"This reduces high-dose exposure of healthy tissue to radiation and could reduce the side effects for our patients," said Dr. Maria Kelly, chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at U.Va. "We are extremely excited to have this cutting-edge technology, which further solidifies U.Va.'s reputation as a national leader in cancer care and treatment. This technology allows us to deliver precision radiation therapy and will have tremendous positive impact for our patients."

As radiation is delivered by a beam in a helical pattern, from any point in a 360-degree rotation, the beam moves a predetermined distance along the length of the patient. The benefit is a more localized and accurate treatment of the tumor.

The TomoTherapy System is also one of the first devices to provide 3-D imaging immediately before each treatment to verify the location of a patient's tumor. The ability to do 3-D imaging increases precision. "Often between treatments a patient's tumor can move. So by verifying before each treatment, a patient's tumor can be precisely targeted, increasing accuracy of delivery," Kell

Contact: Bob Beard
University of Virginia Health System

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