A health system is using a robotic arm to reduce the side effects of radiation and the duration of therapy for cancer patients.
Mercy Health, a part of CHE Trinity Health, said last week that it has received West Michigan’s first CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery system for outpatient radiation treatment at its Lacks Cancer Center in Grand Rapids.
Mercy Health said the non-invasive alternative to surgery will be used at the center to treat brain and spine tumors, gastrointestinal cancers and certain prostate cancers.
Patients in the region would have to travel to Ann Arbor or Chicago for comparable treatment, according to Mercy Health.
“It’s a quality-of-life improvement,” said Kenda Klotz, clinical services director, Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center.
Klotz called the CyberKnife "another option in our extensive arsenal of powerful cancer-fighting tools.”
The CyberKnife system by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Accuray targets abnormal cells in the body to deliver high doses of radiation to an area, while avoiding damaging healthy tissue. The system uses image-guided software to adjust with patient or tumor movement.
Dr. Gil Padula, director of technology and innovation at Lacks Cancer Center, said that traditional radiation therapy is delivered over several weeks, while treatment with the CyberKnife can be completed in three to five days, due to the robotic delivery.
“The image guidance is so advanced that the system is continuously recalibrating and compensating for patient movement, like breathing, resulting in unmatched precision of radiation delivery,” Padula said.
As a result of the tracking software, patients can experience less discomfort from stabilizing frames, and the radiosurgery system can treat tumors throughout the body, rather than only in the head.
Padula added that CyberKnife treatments will deliver less toxicity in normal tissue and higher doses of radiation targeting cancerous cells.
“I am really excited for what it can do for our patients,” Padula said. “It can aim the radiation beam from multiple different angles . . . which allows us to have potentially improved outcomes. Not only does it increase the chance of cure, but also they are going to have more convenience to their personal life.”
Padula said that providing the CyberKnife treatment is not only a win for patients, but also a potential win for research.
The Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center offers multiple treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy and is part of the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s campus in Grand Rapids.
Mercy Health operates five hospital campuses throughout West Michigan.