GPS for the Body’ system provides real-time tracking of tumors during prostate cancer treatments
November 27, 2012
Charlottesville, VA. Martha Jefferson Hospital today became the first hospital in Central Virginia to use a new technology that more accurately delivers doses of radiation to prostate cancer patients. The Calypso® system allows doctors to precisely track and target tumors while avoiding damage to healthy tissue. Patients lie still for 30 minutes while the treatment machine rotates around them and aims radiation beams at the cancerous tumors.
Martha Jefferson radiation oncologist Dr. Sylvia Hendrix says previous treatments couldn’t track natural internal changes in the body.
“Physicians used to assume the prostate didn’t move during treatment. We now know that isn’t true. The Calypso system is very precise. If the prostate or the target area moves just a millimeter we can stop the treatment, reposition the patient, and precisely target the patient’s cancer.”
The Calypso system uses three tiny Beacon® electromagnetic transponders, each smaller than a grain of rice, which are implanted into the prostate during a simple outpatient procedure. The beacons work in a way similar to GPS markers enabling doctors to monitor the movement of the patient’s prostate and his cancer in real-time during radiation treatments.
The first patient to receive the treatment, Mr. Craig LaMountain of Greene County, noted that the procedure really is painless.
“You feel nothing. If I wasn’t worried about moving, I’d fall asleep.”
Hendrix says studies show patients who undergo Calypso experience few side effects from radiation, and they’re just temporary.
“Not only will patients receive better treatment, they will also have fewer long-term side effects including bladder issues, lower digestive issues, as well as sexual function,” said Hendrix.
Calypso is currently only treating prostate cancer patients, but it could be used for women with left-side breast cancer in the future.
For more information on Calypso, or to find a urologist who is Calypso-certified, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.