Precisely Targeting Tumors

Innovative radiotherapy programs offer treatment options

September 2010

The Taussig Cancer Institute offers one of the most technologically advanced radiotherapy programs in the country, providing several treatment options not available anywhere else in Ohio.

Image-guided technologies allow radiation oncologists to more precisely target tumors, taking into account the body’s natural tendency to shift during radiation treatment. In the past, it was difficult for physicians to predict which way — or how much — an organ would move during treatment. Consequently, the tumor may not have received the right amount of radiation, or nearby tissues and organs may have received unnecessary radiation.

Since 2005, Cleveland Clinic has addressed this challenge by using the Calypso™ 4D Localization System for prostate cancer radiation treatment. Calypso works like a GPS system, tracking the tumor by determining the exact position and movement of the prostate during radiation treatment.

To keep up with advancing technologies, Cleveland Clinic radiation oncologist Rahul Tendulkar, MD, has launched a pilot research study that will compare the Calypso System with other treatment modalities.

“We want to make a head-to-head comparison of each image-guided technology to help us define the accuracy of each method in delivering radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer patients,” says Dr. Tendulkar. The pilot study is being funded by a $50,000 grant from The Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative.

Similarly, early-stage breast cancer patients may benefit from better targeting of radiation treatment with the Clarity™ Breast System, an image-guided radiation therapy method that more accurately locates the target treatment area. Using ultrasound images, Clarity improves visualization of the area to be treated, leading to more precision and fewer side effects.

Image-guided systems generally improve outcomes in terms of tumor control, minimize side effects, and improve the patient experience by decreasing treatment times and allowing for a shorter course of radiation treatment.

Ping Xia, PhD, head of medical physics, who holds the Don DiGeronimo and Betty Raghavan Endowed Chair in Medical Physics and is the first female medical physicist as an endowed chair, sees the role of her physicists team as helping radiation oncologists solve clinical problems and speeding the implementation of new findings into practice. With the evolution of many image-guided technologies, Dr. Xia’s team is focusing on motion management during radiation treatment. “We have to determine the best way to use new technology to individualize radiation oncology,” she says.

To make an online gift supporting the Taussig Cancer Institute or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit our secure giving site, or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2273, ext. 41245.

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