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Electronics Production | January 09, 2006

Oncologists in Florida use Elekta

Oncologists in Florida use Elekta Synergy® S, the cutting-edge solution for high precision radiation therapy to sharpen targeting and treatment of tumors near the spinal cord.
Many patients once considered “untreatable” have new options to improve quality of life and long-term survival.

In treating tumors near the spinal cord with radiation therapy, the key is to hit the tumor with the treatment beams and avoid exposing the spinal cord to damaging levels of radiation. Satisfying both requirements using conventional treatment technology can be difficult in many cases, often leaving doctors with no choice but to withhold treatment. Today, the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center (Gainesville, Fla., USA) offers patients with spine tumors new hope for beating cancer with a sophisticated new radiation treatment machine that enables more confident targeting of lesions near the spine.

In November, University of Florida radiation oncologists at UFSCC used their Elekta Synergy® S radiation treatment system with X-ray Volume Image Guidance in its first spine tumor patient, a case that would not have been attempted using a conventional treatment machine.

“A standard radiation therapy unit can't tell you if there has been organ movement inside patients or if patients are in exactly the same position that they were in when you planned the treatment. It makes targeting the radiation beams very challenging,” says Robert Amdur, M.D., a UF College of Medicine professor and radiation oncologist at the UFSCC. “In the past we had to use a large safety margin around the tumor or a much lower, less therapeutic dose, or both to avoid giving an excessive dose to the spinal cord. Often, if the lesion is very close to the spinal cord, we may decide not to use radiation therapy at all.”

The UFSCC's first patient treated with the Elekta Synergy® S had a sarcoma, a primary tumor, located near his spine, Dr. Amdur says. The patient had 25 separate, 15-minute treatments (fractions) for his tumor. Another patient who had a refractory Hodgkin's lesion near his spine was treated with a single fraction, high-dose treatment demonstrating the high accuracy and flexibility of Elekta Synergy® S.

“We're hoping that Elekta Synergy® S will represent a major advance for a class of patients that didn't previously have very hopeful treatment options,” Dr. Amdur concludes.

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