The so called surgery was actually not surgery in its true sense but a fast, precise and non-invasive high-energy X-ray treatment to attack tumors from outside the body. What this means is that there are no incisions or scars on the patients as it was all done using beams of x-rays from outside the body in a highly focussed manner. This type of treatment is also called radio-surgery system or use of cyber-knife to treat cancers. The treatment is popular to treat some
, liver, prostate and brain tumors.
The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown Cancers uses the Edge radiosurgery system that allows precision targeting of tumor position in real time by constantly tracking it as the treatment is given like the GPS. The system also can alert clinicians if a patient has moved during treatment in a way that could compromise treatment accuracy. A sophisticated treatment couch with six axes of motion enhances treatment precision by providing additional angles for targeting tumors. The patient has to lie very still during the treatment.
The first patient treated at Champalimaud using Edge Radiosurgery was a 63-year-old female with operable stage 1 non-small-cell lung cancer. Clinicians also treated a 67-year-old male with two metastatic tumors in his brain. He received radiosurgery for both tumors in a single session that took less than ten minutes.
In 2014, Professor Carlo Greco of the Champalimaud Foundation said, "We are delighted to be the first center in the world to begin clinical treatments using Edge Radiosurgery and it has been a superb job by the whole Varian and Champalimaud teams to make this happen."
The Center also used the Edge system to commence "hypo-fractionated" stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy for two prostate cancer patients, enabling them to complete the treatments in five sessions, rather than the 30-40 sessions that are typically required with standard radiotherapy. According to the team at Champalimaud, preliminary data indicates that hypo-fractionation holds great promise in achieving excellent tumor control for properly selected prostate cancer patients.
"We believe the Edge radiosurgery system offers more options for clinicians and will prove to be an effective tool for effectively performing cancer surgery with no knife," says Rolf Staehelin, head of international marketing for Varian Medical Systems.
Other leading cancer centers around the world - including the Henry Ford Clinic in Detroit and the Humanitas Clinic in Milan - have also similar systems.
"The efficacy of radiotherapy treatments is already very well-known but the improvement in quality that will come from this project will be of enormous benefit to the quality of life of patients in the north of Portugal," said Helena Pereira, M.D., radio oncology service medical director. "This new equipment will allow us to introduce new radiation delivery techniques that offer more efficient and more precise ways of treating cancer while reducing side effects."
In India too similar radio-surgery
or cyber-knife treatment is available in a few cities like Chennai. The Edge Radiosurgery system is an advancement with better software and more precise targeting of the tumor. It can be used for with either palliative or curative intent, however not all cancers respond to radiotherapy or radio-surgery treatment.