Approximately 71,500 women in the United States are diagnosed with gynecological cancer every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center have developed a more effective way to treat gynecological cancers, shortening radiation treatment time from five weeks to three days.
The new method, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has been used on other types of cancer, but Case Medical Center is the first treatment facility to apply it to gynecological cancers. Dr. Charles Kunos, who co-authored the article, said the radiation therapy machine “looks like a robot you would make cars with, and targets specific cancer cells.”
Unlike traditional radiation therapy, SBRT uses focused radiation beams and targets well-defined tumors. In order to focus in on the region, the tumors need to be imaged and marked (using fiduciary markers) in advance. During treatment with the Cyberknife system (from Accuray), patients need to be immobilized, and even the patient’s breathing needs to be taken into account.
The highly specific nature of the procedure not only shortens treatment time, it limits the effect of the radiation on healthy tissues.
“SBRT holds great promise for treating persistent or recurrent gynecological cancers,” said JoVE Science Editor, Dr. Nandita Singh. “SBRT can deliver radiation with high precision and is particularly effective in delivering reduced radiation to cancer targets that are refractory to chemotherapy and conventional radiation.”
Dr. Kunos said he is very pleased with his article, and felt that it was critical to high-quality video of the protocol for people to see when he and his team launch a nationwide clinical trial. To learn more about how a video in JoVE Medicine can help you, please click here.