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UPMC One of First in Country to Treat Cancer Patients with New CyberKnife® System

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UPMC CancerCenter radiation oncologists have begun to treat cancer patients with the newest generation CyberKnife® System, a radiosurgery system with the ability to more precisely shape radiation beams to the form of tumors, maximize dose delivered while also keeping surrounding healthy tissue intact and dramatically decrease the length of treatments.

As leaders in oncology with one of the busiest stereotactic radiosurgery centers in the United States, UPMC CancerCenter performs about 550 cases a year with the CyberKnife System.

The newest-generation CyberKnife System, known as the M6™, is being used at the Mary Hillman Jennings Radiation Oncology Center at UPMC Shadyside and is one of five currently in use in the U.S. The first patient at UPMC was treated using the CyberKnife M6 System in October 2013, and her treatment time was cut in half versus what it would have been with the previous CyberKnife System. About 80 patients have been treated so far using the new system.

Treatment with the new system is typically completed in just one to five days, instead of the 40 or more treatment sessions often required with conventional radiation therapy, and, unlike surgery, requires no anesthesia or recovery time. The system also can track for tumor movement and automatically correct for motion throughout treatment, which is particularly helpful for treating tumors of the lung, liver and prostate and means that patients don’t need to be repositioned on the treatment table.

“We are excited to be able to offer patients in western Pennsylvania the most advanced cancer treatment options available,” said Dwight E. Heron, M.D., director of Radiation Services, UPMC CancerCenter, and vice chairman of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. “The new CyberKnife System is another tool we have that can ensure we are delivering the most precise, personalized and best treatment available.”

The CyberKnife M6 System, made by Accuray Incorporated, has an Iris™ Collimator which allows radiation to be delivered in different sized beams from each treatment position without harming surrounding healthy tissue. This, along with the device’s robotic arm, results in more patients with difficult-to-treat tumors being eligible for the treatment. Eventually, the system at UPMC also will implement the first multileaf collimator on the Cyberknife M6 System that will allow for even more precise delivery of radiation by shaping radiation to the form of the tumor.