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OHSU to offer SBRT and radiosurgery using new Novalis Tx technology

Varian : 24 September, 2008  (Company News)
Doctors at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) have become the first clinicians in the Pacific Northwest to offer patients an advanced form of image-guided stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and radiosurgery using new Novalis Tx technology from Varian Medical Systems and BrainLAB.
OHSU installed the new Novalis Tx platform in order to offer patients fast, accurate non-invasive treatments for cancer and abnormalities of the central nervous system.

Martin Fuss, MD, director of the Image-guided radiation therapy program in OHSU's Department of Radiation Medicine, has now treated over 30 patients using Novalis Tx since its installation in June 2008. Patients were treated for tumours of the brain, spine, lung, and liver-all areas that can be difficult and sometimes impossible to treat using open surgery or conventional forms of radiation therapy.

In one case, OHSU doctors found a small, early-stage lung cancer tumour in a 78-year-old woman when she received a routine X-ray after a fall. 'It is an odd thing to say, but she was lucky to have fallen. If she hadn't, we might not have found the cancer so early,' Fuss said. 'Because of her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she wasn't a candidate for surgery. Typically, we would have offered this type of patient a conventional course of radiation therapy, but that offers then only a fifty-fifty chance of success, defined by local tumour control.'

According to Dr Fuss, who is also a member of the OHSU Cancer Institute, stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT using Novalis Tx technology offers a good chance of achieving 85 to 90 percent local tumour control rates in this type of case, based on preliminary studies looking at the results of using SBRT to treat early-stage lung cancer.

Another important use of the Novalis Tx at OHSU has been the treatment of liver tumours as a bridge to receiving a liver transplant. 'In a cirrhotic liver, the tumour is surrounded by tissues that are already severely compromised,' Fuss said. 'In the past, we rarely tried to treat these cases with radiation at all. Many of these patients are on waiting lists for transplants, and they might wait over nine months. Now, with Novalis Tx, we are following trans-arterial chemoemboliation (TACE) with a five-day course of SBRT, in an effort to shrink the tumour, or at least keep it from growing, which would cause the patient to lose eligibility for a transplant.'

The majority of Fuss's SBRT patients have lung or liver cancer, but he and his colleagues are also treating pituitary adenomas, acoustic neuromas, brain, and spinal tumours, as well as arteriovenous malformations (AVM), which are defects of the vascular system involving snarled tangles of arteries and veins.
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