FREEHOLD, N.J., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Clinicians at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey, are offering a novel image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) treatment for prostate cancer patients using advanced 2-D and 3-D imaging technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) to target tumors more precisely.
"This new approach to treating prostate cancer enables us to do a better job of preserving the surrounding healthy tissues in order to improve outcomes and reduce complications for our patients," said Brian Chon, MD, radiation oncologist on staff at CentraState.
Frank Simacek, 67, a retired IBM engineer who now works part-time, has just completed an eight-week course of treatment with Chon. Several months ago, Simacek's PSA level rose, indicating the possibility of prostate cancer. A subsequent biopsy confirmed that he had cancer.
"We discussed the options with Frank and settled on a strategy of delivering a high radiation dose using image-guided external-beam radiotherapy," Chon said. "We are using intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) to shape beams and modulate dose intensity while using IGRT to target the tumor with millimeter accuracy."
Chon's team uses Varian's On-Board Imager™ device, an automated, robotic imager mounted on the treatment machine, to generate radiographic X-ray images at the beginning of each treatment session to line up the radiotherapy beam with the tumor. Gold seeds implanted in the prostate made it easier to see and target the tumor, which typically shifts from day to day.
"We were amazed by the variability of the tumor position each day," Chon commented. "The prostate gland moves around inside the body a lot more than you might imagine. It is not unusual to see it shift as much as a centimeter, due to the contents of the bowel or bladder. Using Varian's imaging device, we are able to make sure we're actually treating the prostate every day. Otherwise we'd risk missing parts of the tumor on some days."
The CentraState team also generates 3-D cone-beam CT X-ray images of the tumor weekly to measure the average amount of tumor motion for better treatment planning. "We're also able to fuse the 3-D images with data in our planning system, to calculate exactly how much dose is going to the prostate and each of the surrounding organs," Chon said.
"We see 2-D radiographic and 3-D cone-beam CT imaging serving different purposes," said Jan Dragotta, clinical director. "We use cone-beam CT as a tool for adapting the treatment plan according to changes in patient anatomy. We can take a cone-beam CT image and superimpose it onto treatment plan images. That shows us how a plan may need to be modified. We use the 2-D radiographic imaging for positioning our IMRT patients, and it works beautifully. We've become so efficient with the 2-D imaging; we're saving 30-45 minutes per day setting patients up for treatment. That means we can treat another 2-3 patients each day. When you're a community hospital with a one-machine radiation oncology department, that efficiency is important."
Simacek reports that he went right on working, and that he has not experienced any side effects or drop in energy during his course of treatment. He also says that the technology used to treat his prostate cancer is "pretty amazing. I saw a lot of impressive technology over a 30-year career with IBM, and I have to tell you, this technology is pretty neat stuff.
"But just as important, in my mind, was the caliber of the staff at CentraState, including the doctors, nurses, and therapists," he added. "They answered all my questions professionally and courteously. They greeted all patients with a smile, created a relaxed atmosphere, and showed concern about my well being as well as that of all the other patients."
CentraState Healthcare System is a non-profit community health organization consisting of an acute-care hospital, three senior living centers, a health education and activities center, a family medicine residency program, and a charitable foundation. It is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Network and a clinical research affiliate of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
About Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems, which are treating thousands of patients per day. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and flat-panel digital subsystems for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,280 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 56 sales and support offices around the world. Additional information is available on the company's web site at http://www.varian.com/.
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: Meryl Ginsberg, (650) 424-6444 Varian Medical Systems firstname.lastname@example.org Renee Crotts, (732) 294-7080 CentraState Medical Center email@example.com
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.varian.com/