Monday, March 18, 2013

MD Anderson Cancer Center Offers Next Evolution of Cancer Treatment with Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy

Newswise — Selected for its ability to target tumors precisely while minimizing damage to healthy surrounding tissue, proton therapy has rapidly gained a foothold as an option for radiation treatment in the past decade. The Proton Therapy Center at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, continues to innovate the field by being the first and only center in North America to treat patients with the most advanced form of proton therapy, called intensity modulated proton therapy with multi-field optimization (IMPT). Opened in 2006 as the first proton therapy center at a major comprehensive cancer center, it is now one of 10 proton therapy centers currently operating in the United States. The Proton Therapy Center treats over 800 patients of all ages every year.

IMPT, considered the “holy grail” by many radiation oncologists, is best used to deliver a potent and precise dose of protons to the most complicated tumors, ones that largely reside embedded in the nooks and crannies of the head and neck or skull base. MD Anderson envisioned IMPT as an achievable reality when the Proton Therapy Center introduced pencil beam technology in 2008 for patients with cancers of the pelvis, brain and certain pediatric tumors. Like pencil beam, IMPT relies on complex treatment planning systems and an intricate network of magnets to focus and aim a narrow proton beam and essentially “paint” the radiation dose onto the tumor layer by layer.

source: Newswise

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Collaboration Between Cancer and Heart Physicians Essential for Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy

Newswise — BOSTON––A new report that breast cancer patients treated with low doses of radiation therapy have a heightened risk of heart disease suggests that physicians need to work with patients before, during, and after treatment to minimize that risk, according to an accompanying editorial in the March 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The editorial, by Javid Moslehi, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, states that while radiation therapy has played a key role in reducing breast cancer mortality rates, the new study shows that such therapy – even at the low doses used in modern treatments – carries greater potential for producing long-term heart problems than was previously known. The study, led by researchers at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, found that the potential heart-harming effects of radiation therapy were especially pronounced in women who were at greater risk of a heart attack prior to the therapy.

That finding is particularly important because there are a variety of steps women – and men – can take to reduce their overall risk of heart disease, writes Moslehi, who is the director of cardio-oncology in Dana-Farber’s Adult Survivorship Program.

source: Newswise

Friday, March 8, 2013

Elekta Sets New Benchmark for Cancer Treatment with Launch of Versa HD System

ATLANTA and STOCKHOLM, March 1 – During a live global event, Elekta announced the launch of Versa HD™, an advanced linear accelerator system designed to improve patient care and treat a broader spectrum of cancers. Featuring high precision beam shaping and tumor targeting, Versa HD also unveils new capabilities designed to maximize health care system resources and deliver highly sophisticated therapies without compromising treatment times.

Versa HD gives clinicians the flexibility to deliver conventional therapies to treat a wide range of tumors throughout the body, while also enabling treatment of highly complex cancers that require extreme targeting precision. As an integrated treatment system, Versa HD offers the versatility to address today’s growing cancer management challenges.

“The well-being of increasing numbers of cancer patients worldwide inspired us to create Versa HD,” says Elekta’s President and CEO, Tomas Puusepp. “We strived to incorporate technologies that would provide an immediate impact to patient health and quality of life. As the pioneers of many of today’s most advanced therapies, we are proud to introduce Versa HD as yet another market-leading innovation. Versa HD truly reflects the best thinking of Elekta’s technical experts and our clinical partners.”

Integrated with Elekta’s recently-launched Agility™ 160-leaf multileaf collimator (MLC), Versa HD provides highly conformal beam shaping – a critical requirement for maximizing the dose to the target while also preserving surrounding healthy tissues. Importantly, this high targeting accuracy is available over a large field-of-view, permitting delivery of high-definition (HD) beams to a wide spectrum of complex targets.

source: Elekta

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Study Analyzes Twenty Five Years of Data After Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer Patients

Newswise — ATLANTA – In its March 3013 issue The Journal of Urology, the official journal of The American Urological Association, includes a study conducted by four physicians from Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia (RCOG), a Vantage Oncology affiliate. This study, 25 Year Disease Free Survival Rate after Irradiation of Prostate Cancer Calculated with the Prostate Specific Antigen Definition of Recurrence Used for Radical Prostatectomy, is the first-ever to analyze 25 years of follow-up data after radiation therapy treatment for prostate cancer patients.

Frank Critz, M.D., founder and medical director at RCOG, the largest community-based prostate program in the United States, co-wrote this study along with three other RCOG physicians, James Benton, M.D., Philip Shrake, M.D., and Mark Merlin, M.D. The prostate program at RCOG is the only program of its kind to have gathered and maintained a clinical records database for all patients over a 30-year period in a consistent and comprehensive manner.

“This study, the longest after irradiation of prostate cancer, confirms using the surgical PSA definition (PSA <0.2 ng/ml) that results from this program are equal to that of radical prostatectomy, thus giving men a choice of treatment and after 15 year follow up if the PSA is <0.2, late recurrence will be rare.”


Saturday, February 23, 2013

First International Brain Cancer Treatments Performed Utilizing IsoRay's GliaSite Radiation Therapy System

RICHLAND, WA--(Marketwire - Feb 21, 2013) - IsoRay, Inc. ( (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company and innovator in seed brachytherapy and medical radioisotope applications, today announced the first international implementation of IsoRay's exclusive GliaSite Radiation Therapy System (balloon catheter) at the University Hospital of Rostock, Germany.

Professor Juergen Piek, Chairman of the Neurosurgical Department, placed the catheters following the brain tumor resection procedure. Dr. Monique Sakretz was the nuclear doctor responsible for the liquid I-125 balloon after load of radioactive material.

Brain cancer presents unique treatment challenges. Brain tumors are very often difficult to remove completely because of the need to avoid damaging the brain. Further, tumors tend to spread to healthy parts of the brain. Typically, surgeons remove as much as they can of the tumor and then treat the areas surrounding where the tumor was removed with radiation therapy. They sometimes use chemotherapy as well. However, most cancerous brain tumors reoccur shortly following removal, and the cancer tends to return near the site of the original tumor. Brain cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers and recurrence often proves fatal.

The GliaSite system offers a number of advantages in glioblastoma and metastatic brain cancer treatment. It places a specified high dose of a liquid radiation source in the areas most likely to contain cancer after brain tumor removal and is less likely to damage healthy brain tissue than other treatments. It helps reduce the ability for the tumor to reoccur, which in turn impacts patient longevity and quality of life.

source: MarketWire

Sunday, February 17, 2013

University of Granada Scientists Develop Effective Treatment for Post Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy Mucositis

Scientists from the University of Granada have patented a compound made from melatonin that is effective in the treatment and prevention of mucositis, one of the most unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in cancer patients. It is an easily applied gel that "is believed to be the first product developed anywhere in the world to combat mucositis", according to investigators from the Biomedical Research Centre in Granada. There is currently no treatment for this problem because its physiopathology is still not understood.

Mucositis is an inflammatory reaction that affects the mucous membranes throughout the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, and is one of the principle adverse effects resulting from chemotherapy, radiotherapy and bone marrow transplants. This problem severely complicates the treatment of cancer as patients frequently have to be admitted to hospital, naso-gastric tubes and opiates must be used and, most seriously, radiotherapy treatment against the cancer is interrupted. On some occasions, the results can be fatal.

It is estimated that 40% of patients who receive radiotherapy and up to 70% of bone marrow transplant patients will develop mucositis. In patients with cancer of the head and neck, 97% develop this condition to some degree, while 100% of those who receive staged radiotherapy over a prolonged period also suffer from mucositis.

source: University of Granada

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hepatic function testing can assist in treatment planning for liver cancer patients

Orlando, Fla., February 8, 2013 – Monitoring the hepatic function of unresectable liver cancer patients, measured by 99mTc-labeled iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) via single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) prior to and during radiation therapy, provides vital information that could guide more customized treatment plans and reduce risks of liver injury, according to research being presented at the 2013 Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium. This Symposium is sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Radiological Society of North American (RSNA).

This study included 14 patients who had unresectable intrahepatic cancers and were treated with 3-D conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) at a median dose of 52 Gy. Patients underwent HIDA SPECT scanning prior to radiation therapy, after delivery of 50 to 60 percent of the planned doses and one month after completion of radiation therapy. In addition, indocyanine green tests, a measure of overall liver function, were performed +/- one day of each SPECT scan. The 27 dynamic HIDA SPECT volumes were acquired over a 60-minute period after the administration of 10 mCi 99mTc-labeled HIDA on a SPECT/CT scanner.

Measuring the regional liver function prior to radiation therapy allows assessment of the precondition of the patient's liver function. Evaluating the change of the regional liver function during the mid-course of radiation therapy indicates the response of the individual patient's liver to radiation doses. Combining the planned radiation doses with the regional liver function assessment and re-assessment, investigators developed a model to predict the regional liver function post-radiation therapy. This information is vital to providing patients with the highest radiation doses for better tumor control, while minimizing the risk for each patient.

source: Eurekalert

Monday, February 11, 2013

DAI provides potential imaging biomarker to indicate brain tumor response to Radiation Therapy

Diffusion abnormality index (DAI) shows promise as an imaging biomarker to measure brain tumor response to radiation therapy, according to research being presented at the 2013 Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium. This Symposium is sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Radiological Society of North American (RSNA).

The study included 20 patients who had brain metastases and were treated with whole brain radiotherapy. The total of 45 lesions among the patients was further categorized as 16 responsive, 18 stable and 11 progressive lesions. Diffusion measurements were taken prior to radiation treatment, two weeks after the start of treatment and one month after treatment completion. For each patient, a normal tissue apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) histogram was used to divide the tumor ADC histogram into three regions: low (high cellularity), normal and high (edema and necrosis) diffusion. Analyzing the complex behavior in ADC of brain metastases from pre-radiation therapy to two weeks after starting treatment, investigators developed a new diffusion index, the DAI, which included both low and high ADC contributions, for prediction of post-treatment tumor response.

Sensitivity and specificity of the change in DAI from pre- to the end of therapy were evaluated and compared with the changes in gross tumor volume from pre-treatment to the end of therapy. The changes were valuable in predicting non-responsive lesions post-treatment.

source: ASTRO

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Researchers Gather to Discuss Therapy Alternative for Breast Cancer

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Radiation oncologists from some of the country’s leading cancer centers will meet in Phoenix later this week to discuss the appropriate use of proton beam therapy in the treatment of breast cancer. Proton therapy is a highly precise form of radiation currently being used to treat a number of cancers and non-cancerous tumors.

Recent studies have reported that long-term side effects from standard radiation therapy for breast cancer can include damage to the heart and lungs, particularly in cases where the left breast is involved and radiation treatments “bathe” these vital organs. In many cases, the side effects do not emerge until 10 years or more after treatment.

Proton therapy is ionizing (high energy) radiation and has the same destructive mechanism in attacking cancer cells as X-ray radiation, but because of its precision, protons are able to provide higher doses of radiation energy to tumors without increasing rates of side effects.

“We now know that breast cancer patients treated with standard radiation have a risk of developing secondary side effects,” said Dr. Eugen Hug, ProCure’s chief medical officer. “That is why it is important for us as a medical community to come together and discuss new therapies and treatment options that can be equally as effective, but spare the long-term damage.”

The two-day conference, to be held at The Arizona Biltmore Feb. 8-9, is being sponsored by ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc., and is drawing in over 35 researchers from around the country.

source: Business Wire

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Elekta’s New Radiation Oncology Technology to Shape the Future of Cancer Care

Worldwide unveiling of radiation delivery technology will be held March 1 in Atlanta, USA

STOCKHOLM and ATLANTA, February 4 – At an exclusive event scheduled March 1, 2013, Elekta will reveal a leap forward in radiation oncology and the care of individuals with cancer worldwide.

Founded in 1972, Elekta was the first to bring a completely digital linear accelerator to the market, as well as the first to fully integrate imaging technology in the treatment system. Elekta is a market-leading developer of cancer care and neuroscience solutions, including a world-class portfolio of linear accelerators, dedicated radiosurgery and brachytherapy systems and oncology information and treatment planning software solutions.

“At Elekta, we are united by a passion that drives us to constantly strive toward the development of new cancer care solutions that benefit patients, caregivers and healthcare systems,” says Elekta’s President and CEO Tomas Puusepp. “It is this unrelenting dedication to patients and their healthcare providers that has inspired our efforts to create a truly singular technological solution in radiation oncology.”

The worldwide unveiling event will be held Friday, March 1 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 11:00-12:00 EST (17:00-18:00 CET). To attend or view live online, register at

source: Elekta