Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GPS for the Body is Here!

Diablo Valley Oncology at the California Cancer and Research Institute of Pleasant Hill is the first and only cancer treatment center in the East Bay offering cancer patients the breakthrough benefits of real-time tumor tracking during external beam radiation with the Calypso System. This highly advanced technology—also referred to as “GPS for the Body”—may lead to reduced side-effects by enabling physicians to more accurately deliver radiation to the tumor while minimizing exposure to the healthy tissue and organs surrounding the prostate.

The Calypso System, with its GPS for the Body technology, utilizes miniature implanted transponders (grain of rice size) to provide precise, continuous information on the location of the tumor during external beam radiation therapy. Any movement by the patient, including internal movement of the tumor, may cause the therapeutic radiation treatment to miss its intended target and hit adjacent healthy tissue. In contrast to ionizing tumor targeting methods which cannot track a target in real-time, the Calypso System provides real-time tumor position information, thereby allowing physicians to deliver radiation directly to the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy organs from radiation exposure. Currently the Calypso System is cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in radiation therapy for the prostate and prostatic bed; however, the technology is designed for body-wide applications and studies are underway using it in other locations in the body.

“We are committed to providing our patients with state-of-the-art treatments that maintain or improve quality of life,” said Sachin Kamath, M.D., radiation oncologist and medical director at Diablo Valley Oncology Radiation Center. “Like many of the organs in our body, the prostate gland is constantly moving. With the precision targeting provided by the Calypso System, extremely accurate radiation can be delivered directly to the tumor while minimizing the risk of any harmful effects on normal tissues. By doing so, we are likely to reduce side-effects.”

In May, a clinical study published in Urology demonstrated that prostate cancer patients who were treated with radiation and monitored with the Calypso System reported significantly reduced side effects like diarrhea, urinary irritation, and erectile dysfunction than those whose radiation was not complemented by Calypso.

“Radiation therapy has been getting better and better throughout my career, but this really represents an additional improvement for patients getting radiation therapy today, even when compared to just a couple years ago,” says Dr. Kamath

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