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Independent survey pinpoints extracranial radiosurgery trends

Accuray : 20 March, 2007  (New Product)
An independent survey has confirmed Accuray's CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is the favoured extracranial radiosurgery solution.
The survey concludes that hospitals with combined Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery systems, also known as 'all-purpose' units, are rarely utilising the extracranial Radiosurgery capabilities.

The survey, which included more than 1,600 hospitals and radiation oncology facilities, shows that for 88 percent of the all purpose systems in use today, less than 10 percent of the procedures were extracranial radiosurgery.

The technique of Radiosurgery was introduced more than 20 years ago for the treatment of brain tumours.

At this time, radiosurgical accuracy was achieved using an invasive device, known as a stereotactic frame.

This frame was designed to hold the head still by screwing a metal frame into the patient's skull.

Use of this invasive frame limited Radiosurgery to intracranial treatments (treatments of tumours inside the head).

A The CyberKnife System achieves the same accuracy as frame based radiosurgery, but uses image guided robotics to avoid the need for a frame.

This approach is not only less invasive for intracranial treatments but has also made extracranial Radiosurgery possible (treatment of tumours throughout the body).

This independent survey confirms that, while manufacturers of other technologies may make claims about extracranial Radiosurgery capabilities for their equipment, the CyberKnife System remains the only extracranial Radiosurgery technology in widespread clinical use.

According to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts and Figures 2007, an estimated 1.4 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed this year in the USA.

Of these cases a large percentage are candidates for radiosurgery, however the survey results indicate that healthcare facilities are not capitalising on the opportunity to provide extracranial radiosurgical treatment to a large number of these patients, particularly those who have been diagnosed with surgically complex or inoperable tumours.

Evidence shows that hospitals that have supplemented their Radiotherapy or all purpose units with a dedicated robotic Radiosurgery system, such as the CyberKnife System, have nearly doubled the number of cancer patients treated.

After installing a CyberKnife System in 2002, Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC, treated 95 patients with extracranial tumours and 105 patients with intracranial tumours in the first year alone.

Over the past three years, the hospital reports that the treatment of both extracranial and intracranial cases has increased 150 percent and 55 percent respectively, with many cases involving tumours in the spine and lungs.

'Not only has the dedicated robotic Radiosurgery system expanded our ability to help our existing cancer patients, it has enabled us to treat an entirely new group of patients that we could not adequately serve with Radiotherapy alone', said Linda F Winger, vice president of professional services and research administration at Georgetown University Hospital.

'Accuray is seeing significant demand for the CyberKnife System to treat extracranial tumours, such as those associated with lung and prostate cancer', said Euan Thomson, PhD, president and CEO of Accuray.

'Recently published reports indicate a potentially significant shortfall in cancer treatment resources associated with the United States' ageing population.

'As a pain free, non-invasive, outpatient procedure Radiosurgery is ideally suited to address this growing need.

'This survey confirms what we have believed for some time, that the CyberKnife System is the only extracranial Radiosurgery system in widespread use'.

Dominic and Irvine Research, an independent market research firm, conducted the survey of more than 1,600 sites by telephone between February and June of 2006 to determine the nature of the radiation oncology programme, the site's instruments (Linear accelerator, Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, and such like), and the pattern of usage for the equipment for both intracranial and extracranial treatments.

All purpose units, as referenced above, include Varian Medical Systems' Trilogy, Elekta's Synergy and BrainLAB's Novalis.

Interviews were conducted with the head or director of radiation oncology as well as radiation oncologists and physicists at some sites.
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