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What is CyberKnife?

CyberKnife is a radiosurgery system designed to perform cancer treatment with more than millimetric precision. With this system radiation beams are focused to treat cancerous areas of the brain and body with high doses of radiation. At the same time normal tissue can be protected from the effects of radiation at the maximum rate. This computer controlled robot technology can practically dance and twirl around the patient to apply radiation from hundreds of different angles. Basically the CyberKnife is an advanced linear accelerator that has been placed on the robots used in the industry sector. It is a Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRC) device that uses beams of radiation focusing on cancerous areas of the brain and body, especially in hard to reach places, to deliver high doses of radiation while providing maximum protection for normal tissue. SRC, which can be defined as the treatment for a target found through coordinates, means completely destroying a tumor in a single session with high doses of radiation after determining the three dimensional coordinates. When this treatment is delivered in more than one session (generally 3-5 sessions) it is called Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT).

What specialists can perform the CyberKnife treatment?

The specialists that apply the CyberKnife treatments are radiation oncology specialists. However, there are medical physics specialists responsible for the quality of the treatment, radiotherapy technicians who use the treatment devices, nurses assisting doctors who follow the patient’s progress and the patient acceptance authorities who help with all sorts of questions and procedures to make the treatment more effective and comfortable for the patient and provide support to the radiation oncologist.

What types of cancer is CyberKnife used for treating?

CyberKnife can be used in all lesions of the brain and head-neck region without limit for position and size. It is preferred in the treatment of malignant and benign tumors, metastases, arteriovenous malformations and some functional diseases.

  • Also it can be used in lung cancers, prostate cancers, head and neck cancers, vertebra tumors, pancreas cancers and metastases that are small in number but cannot be treated with other methods, lung and liver cancers in which the tumor changes places with respiration or intestinal movements, some tumors that were not treatable in the past or only treatable through surgery that left other damage, tumors around the eyes that require the eye to be surgically removed and spinal disorders that are very sensitive to radiation.
  • The method is used on patients who have received radiotherapy before but the disease has recurred in the same area.

What does CyberKnife provide to the patient?

CyberKnife is a suitable treatment for lesions that are in small difficult to reach areas that cannot be operated on.

  • It is an option for tumors that do not require surgery or require a very complex surgery or are inoperable.
  • The system performs the treatment with sensitivity under millimeters and aims to reduce the damage to healthy tissue to a minimum.
  • Fast treatment is provided with application sessions varying from 1 to 5 sessions.
  • Throughout the treatment period, the tumor and the patient movements can be monitored with the instant image guidance system and the computer controlled robot technology. Immediate changes can be detected and corrected.
  • CyberKnife monitors the patient’s respiration and the tumor movements that occur as a result, makes sensitive corrections and applies the radiation accordingly.
  • Multiple tumors can be treated simultaneously.
  •  It is painless and does not require anesthesia.
  •  The patient does not need to be hospitalized and can return to their daily life very quickly.

Get to know the CyberKnife device

The CyberKnife radiosurgery system is a device designed for cancer treatment. Mainly it is comprised of a linear accelerator weighing 140 kg that produces 6 MV x-rays positioned on an industrial robot with 6 joints and a robotic patient bed that can move in 6 directions. The robot has a sensitivity of 0.2 mm. With the CyberKnife imaging the combination of determining the target and the controlled robot system that provides guidance, tumors are hit with radiation very sensitively.

How is CyberKnife done?

CyberKnife is applied by placing a plastic mask on the patients without a surgical procedure. During the treatment the patient is placed on a robot controlled table that can move 6 dimensionally. An image capturing system that determines the location of the tumor, tracks it and monitors changes in the tumor movements to change the patient position if necessary, sensitively treats lung and liver tumors that become displaced with respiration. During the treatment the patient does not have to hold their breath or breathe regularly. The system compares the computerized tomography and magnetic resonance images taken before the treatment with the instant images that are taken during the treatment. The tumor coordinates that are obtained are instantly assessed with the help of the computer and the radiation dose is adjusted. Therefore the treatment is not affected by small movements by the patient. While the treatment is limited to the tumor, the damage to the surrounding healthy tissue is reduced to a minimum.

CyberKnife is the world’s first and only robotic radiosurgical system designed to treat cancer throughout the body with millimetric precision. Thanks to this system, cancerous areas in the brain and throughout the body can be treated by high doses of radiation. Normal tissue is preserved at maximum levels from the effects of radiation. The treatment device turns around the patient as if it is dancing using computer-controlled robot technology and performs the treatment by applying radiation from hundreds of angles. CyberKnife is composed of subsystems that host many advanced high technologies. CyberKnife, which is able to determine the place of the tumor under the guidance of its imaging system, is a highly precise computer-controlled robot system and a modern robotic patient positioning system. All these systems facilitate the treatment of the tumor with high precision.

What are the treatable conditions?

CyberKnife is cleared by the FDA for treatment of tumors and lesions anywhere in the body when radiation therapy is appropriate. However, patients should consult their physicians to determine if this treatment approach is right for them. Conditions that can be treated with CyberKnife include:

  • Primary & Metastatic Brain Tumors
  • Spine Cancer
  • Spinal Cord Tumors
  • Soft Tissue Tumors (Lung, Kidney, Liver, Pancreas)
  • Acoustic Neuromas
  • Meningiomas & Skull-base Tumors
  • Pituitary Tumors
  • Recurrent & Residual Tumors
  • Arteriovenous Malformations(AVMs)
  • Functional Disorders, such as Trigeminal Neuralgia

What are the advantages of CyberKnife?

  • Painless treatment
  • There is no pain associated with radiaton treatment delivered by CyberKnife radiosurgery system.
  • Frameless
    The ability of CyberKnife to correct for patient movement during treatment eliminates the pain and inconvenience associated with the rigid metal head frame used with other stereotactic techniques.
  • Full body capability
    CyberKnife’s unique design allows treatment of tumors or lesions throughout the body, an entirely new approach for radiosurgery. Radiation treatment can be administered to soft tissues such as the lung, liver, kidney and other organs, as well as brain and spine.
  • Outpatient treatment
    The CyberKnife treatment greatly reduces the risk of complications and lengthy recovery time associated with traditional surgery. CyberKnife can also perform “staged” radiosurgery-where the total radiation dose is divided into two to five smaller doses over several days. This is particularly beneficial for treating larger tumors or those near sensitive areas, providing better Radiation Oncology to surrounding tissue. After treatment, most patients can return home and resume their regular activities.

Techniques used in the application of Radiation Oncology:

SRT / SRS:

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), which can be explained as the treatment of a specific target by means of coordinates, refers to the complete destruction of the tumor in one single session through high doses of radiation after 3-D coordinates of the target are determined. When this therapy is applied in more than one session (generally 3-5 session), it is named as Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT).