According to an article appearing in “VAntagePoint”, the Official Blog for the VA, a new robotic treatment was recently used for the first time at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital https://www.tampa.va.gov in Tampa to give veterans more treatment options for cancer. The Cyberknife M6 machine was used to treat a veteran with a cancerous brain tumor.
The Cyberknife uses an arm similar to those used by manufacturing robots in auto plants to precisely deliver high dosage radiation to tumors to destroy cancer cells. Despite the name of Cyberknife, this treatment is a completely non-invasive procedure and causes no pain or sensation in the patient during treatment.
The Cyberknife has the ability to track and treat a tumor in real time. The machine uses x-rays to continuously image the patient and track any tumor movement. Also, the Cyberknife can more precisely target a tumor cutting down on the amount of healthy tissues that maybe subjected to high doses of radiations.
In order to determine the best treatment, the Cyberknife’s computer will take input from the physician and physicist to include the radiation dosage needed to kill the tumor. Then the computer will come up with a plan to attack the cancer from multiple angles over the course of several treatments.
In addition, the Cyberknife joins another machine used in the Radiation Therapy Unit which will enable veterans to have more treatment options. The other machine called Varian Truebeam STx has increased capabilities to treat multiple lesions.
While the Truebeam is better when a patient has multiple lesions, the Cyberknife can more precisely target a tumor cutting down on the amount of healthy tissue that is subject to high doses of radiation.
Dr. James Pearlman, Chief of Radiation Oncology at the hospital said, “He is most excited about offering more options for treatment to veterans now that both Cyberknife and the Truebeam machines are up and running. While there are treatment facilities that use one machine but not both machines, there is no other hospital in this area that offers treatments from both machines.”