About 71,500 women in the United States are diagnosed with a
gynecologic cancer every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Researchers from University
have developed a more effective way to treat gynecologic cancers, shortening
radiation treatment time from five weeks to three days. The method will be
published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) on April 17.
The new method, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has
been used on other types of cancer, but Case Medical
Center is the first
treatment facility to apply it to gynecologic cancers. Dr. Charles Kunos, who
co-authored the article, said the radiation therapy machine “looks like a
robot you would make cars with, and targets specific cancer cells.”
(To see the robot arm in action, follow the link to the full
video article: http://www.jove.com/details.php?id=3793&access=bs3ynror)
Unlike traditional radiation therapy, SBRT uses focused
radiation beams and targets well-defined tumors. In order to focus in on the
region, the tumors need to be imaged and marked (using fiduciary markers) in
advance. During treatment with the Cyberknife system from Accuray, patients
need to be immobilized, and even the movement from the patient’s breathing
needs to be taken into account.
The highly specific nature of the procedure not only
shortens treatment time, it limits the effect of the radiation on healthy
“SBRT holds great promise for treating persistent or
recurrent gynecologic cancers,” said JoVE Science Editor, Dr. Nandita
Singh. “SBRT can deliver radiation with high precision and is particularly
effective in delivering reduced radiation to cancer targets that are refractory
to chemotherapy and conventional radiation.”
Dr. Kunos said he chose to publish the method in JoVE, the
only peer reviewed, PubMed-indexed academic journal to publish all of its
content in both text and video format, because he felt it was critical that he
and his team have a high-quality video of the protocol for people to see when
he and his team launch a nationwide clinical trial.