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Cancer therapy

CHUM first in Canada to use robotic radiosurgery

MONTREAL – The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, now in operation at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), may revolutionize the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. Used in radiation oncology, the CyberKnife System is one of the latest and most exciting developments in radiosurgery technology.

Designed to destroy tumours using radiation beams, it is the first robotic system to treat tumors non-invasively to be installed in Canada. It provides a pain-free, non-surgical option for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for an alternative to surgery.

Though its name may conjure images of scalpels and surgery, the CyberKnife treatment involves no cutting. Accuray’s CyberKnife System uses stereotactic radiotherapy to treat tumours.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the CyberKnife is its ability to track tumour movement as the patient breathes. Its unequalled precision means that the CyberKnife does not require the use of rigid head-frames that are screwed into the patient’s skull to minimize any movement, such as in the case of brain tumour treatment. Instead, the CyberKnife uses two X-ray cameras installed on the ceiling for continuous image guidance.

“With precision that enables high doses of radiation to be channelled to a hair’s-breadth, the CyberKnife reduces the time of treatment needed in most cases,” adds Dr. Jean-Paul Bahary, chief of the Radio-oncology Department of the CHUM, and associate professor, Université de Montréal.

The CHUM will use the CyberKnife mainly in the treatment of intracranial tumours, spinal tumours, certain types of lung, urological, gastrointestinal, and otorhinolaryngological cancers, and for research.

Stereotactic radiotherapy
Stereotactic radiotherapy consists of administering fractionated, ultra-thin beams of high-dose radiation that converge on the target, with minimal harm to critical structures around the tumour.

The CHUM Radio-oncology Department
One of the units treating the highest number of patients in Canada, the CHUM’s Radio-oncology Department is also among the foremost academic centres in North America in terms of the number of clinical trials led by the American College of Radiology’s Radiation Therapy Oncology Group – a further demonstration of the CHUM and the Department’s role of leader in research and innovation.

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