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WFUBMC adds Elekta radiosurgery systems to enhance treatment solutions

Elekta : 01 October, 2008  (Application Story)
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) has reinforced its ability to perform state-of-the-art stereotactic radiation medicine by adding Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion and Elekta Axesse to its range of treatment solutions.
“Precisely targeted irradiation of primary and metastatic disease sites throughout the brain and body delivered in a few or even a single treatment session is where stereotactic radiation-based cancer management is headed and this reflects our treatment philosophy at Wake Forest,” said Edward Shaw, MD, chairman of the department of radiation oncology at WFUMBC. “To put this philosophy into action, we needed a solution capable of providing head-to-toe stereotactic radiation treatments. We investigated the equipment of various vendors and concluded that Elekta Axesse and Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion together would offer the best total body solution for meeting all of our current and future stereotactic needs.”

Wake Forest, already a well-known Leksell Gamma Knife Radiosurgery centre and growing body stereotactic Radiosurgery provider, plans to begin treating patients on Elekta Axesse by the spring 2009 and Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion by the summer of 2009. In addition, Wake Forest has been designated an Elekta Stereotactic Center of Excellence.

“Historically, patients with a solitary lung or liver metastasis, for example, would have open surgery to remove the tumour, which requires several days of inpatient recovery,” Dr Shaw noted. “With Elekta Axesse, stereotactic body Radiosurgery can be done on an outpatient basis, providing a non-invasive alternative to surgery, when appropriate, eliminating the stress and lengthy convalescence of open surgery.”

Ideally suited for stereotactic Radiosurgery or Radiotherapy of the spine and body, the advanced 3D image guidance capability of Elekta Axesse facilitates rapid, precise targeting of tumours; and the robotic 6D sub-millimetre patient positioning provides re-alignment of the patients at the time of treatment. The result is a highly dose conformal radiation delivery system that effectively treats tumours while minimising exposure to nearby healthy tissue.

The integrated 3D-imaging of Elekta Axesse is a key-component according to WFUBMC physicist Carnell Hampton, PhD. “Imaging the tumour immediately prior to treatment sessions will assure us that we are hitting the target and avoiding normal tissues a great in-line quality assurance tool. I’m confident we will achieve the treatment accuracy for these higher dose stereotactic treatments using Elekta Axesse.”

With more than 325 Gamma Knife Radiosurgery treatments per year, the Wake Forest Gamma Knife program is among the busiest in the USA. When Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion replaces its current Gamma Knife system as the main clinical Radiosurgery unit, Wake Forest will boost yearly treatment numbers by adding several new treatment sites and expanding cases currently too complex to treat, according to Dr Shaw.

Due to a completely new design, Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion features extended reach, translating into much simpler access to lesions in skull base and head and neck cancer sites, in addition to the orbits and upper cervical spine, Dr Shaw observed. “Perfexion will help us treat more patients per week and more previously difficult-to-reach lesions.”

“Perfexion geared to streamline workflow through automating Radiosurgery planning and treatment will also allow our clinicians to treat more patients in a given day, obviating the addition of treatment days and associated neurosurgery and radiation oncology staff,” said Stephen Tatter, MD, PhD, co-director of the Wake Forest Gamma Knife Program and professor of neurosurgery at WFUBMC.“In complex Radiosurgery cases, Perfexion will dramatically decrease treatment time to less than half of what is currently possible, enhancing patient comfort.”

With the acquisition of Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion and Elekta Axesse, Elekta has designated WFUBMC an Elekta Stereotactic Center of Excellence. These centres are defined as regionally renowned and highly capable facilities that operate Elekta’s state-of-the-art Radiosurgery systems to provide patients suffering from cancer and serious brain disorders with extraordinary treatment.

Distinction as an Elekta Stereotactic Center of Excellence signifies WFUBMC’s willingness to share its clinicians’ expertise in stereotactic medicine with other cancer management professionals, Dr Shaw said.

“Our mission as an academic medical center and as a teaching hospital is to train residents, medical students, and practicing physicians on the art and science of medicine,” said Dr Shaw. “Our centre will be one of the first sites to have both Elekta Axesse and Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, a combination that lets us deliver highly specialised treatments yet still benefit from economies of scope. Physicists and radiation biologists at WFUBMC are anxious to teach about the clinical practice, including the physics, and biology of total body radiosurgery.

“We believe there will be a growing list of indications for head-to-toe Radiosurgery in the management of cancer and we actually see the treatment of patients with either one or several sites of metastatic disease with focal curative radiation as a way of improving both the cure rate for cancer and our patients’ quality of life.”
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