Thursday, September 11, 2003

1-dose tumor center opens

Device can direct beam of radiation

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A center capable of providing the region's most advanced form of radiation treatment for cancer was unveiled Wednesday.

The $6 million Precision Radiotherapy Center - a joint venture between doctors with the Mayfield Clinic and University Radiology Associates - occupies an unassuming single-story office building in the University Pointe medical campus along I-75 near Tylersville Road.

Inside stands the only machine in Ohio - and one of only 16 installed nationwide - that can perform single-dose radiosurgery for tumors that aren't inside the skull.

"Over the past three to five years, many patients have asked, 'If you can do this for a tumor in my brain, why can't you do it for a tumor in my liver?' Now we can," said Dr. John Breneman, a professor of radiation oncology at the University of Cincinnati.

The Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery System, made by a German company called BrainLAB AG, is an advance beyond what had been the most sophisticated radiation treatment device in town - the Lexar system installed in 1999 at the Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital.

A variety of devices can precisely aim shaped beams of radiation to zap brain tumors without harming optic nerves, the spinal cord or other critical nearby tissues. In those cases, patients wear metallic head rings to prevent movement during treatments that can last 20 to 30 minutes.

The new device uses a combination of X-ray machines, infrared cameras and video cameras to account for breathing and other body movements while aiming radiation at tumors outside the skull.

The new center expects to treat about 150 patients the first year, mostly people who have attempted all other forms of treatment. Eventually, the device may replace traditional surgery as a first-line treatment for some cases, Breneman said.


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