First US hospital to use Gamma Knife Perfexion to treat brain tumours

15 June 2007

Fremont, Calif., USA. The Washington Hospital Healthcare System will be the first hospital outside of Europe to treat brain tumour patients using the new Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion from Swedish company Elekta.

The Leksell Gamma Knife PerfexionThe new system uses focused doses of radiation without making an incision to treat brain tumours and other brain disorders. It focuses more than 192 radiation beams with a level of accuracy better than 0.3mm, or the thickness of a strand of hair, leaving nearby healthy tissue undamaged. Cumulative radiation is high, but each individual beam has low intensity, so tissue it passes through on the way to the target is not affected.

The Gamma Knife Perfexion's anatomical reach has been expanded to treat 100% of the head and neck, which allows physicians to address difficult-to-reach tumours that were not previously treatable when compared to earlier generation and current competing technologies.

Susan LaRochelle, 52, the first patient to be treated, was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. At the same time, She learned that her cancer had also spread to her brain. Because the Gamma Knife procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, Susan will be able to return home in just a few hours and can continue receiving chemotherapy treatments for her lung cancer.

"With the new Gamma Knife Perfexion, Susan's tumours can be removed without disrupting her chemotherapy, allowing us to continue to treat her primary cancer and potentially reduce its spread to other parts of her body," said Dr David Larson, radiation oncologist and co-director of the Gamma Knife program at Washington Hospital.

"With traditional whole-brain radiation, the combination of treatments can result in unwanted toxicity in the body, and Susan would have had to suspend her chemotherapy treatments for her lung cancer for six weeks."

"A leading-edge neuroscience program that includes the Gamma Knife Perfexion is unprecedented in a community hospital setting," said Nancy Farber, chief executive officer of Washington Hospital Healthcare System.

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