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New Radiation Technology Targets Tumors

Jun 26, 2014 04:40PM ● By MED Magazine

Avera Cancer Institute is now armed with a powerful new tool in the fight against cancer: the Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator. It is specifically engineered for stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SRS/SBRT), delivering high dose radiation to very small targets with great precision.   

 “This technology, used with curative intent, involves hundreds of beams from many angles that converge on a small tumor and deliver a very high dose of radiation,” says James Simon, MD, Radiation Oncologist with Avera Medical Group Radiation Oncology Sioux Falls.  “The increased dose is more likely to destroy the tumor. In addition, the accuracy and precision provide greater sparing of nearby healthy tissue, with fewer side effects.”

SBRT with the Versa HD is increasingly being used to treat early stage lung tumors for patients unable to undergo surgery, a group of patients who previously could not be treated with a curative intent.  SBRT can also be used to treat tumors in other areas of the body such as the spine, liver, pancreas, kidney and prostate.

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is used to treat brain tumors – both primary brain tumors and metastatic tumors that have spread to the brain. 

SBRT and SRS cause few side effects, are non-invasive, painless, and require no anesthesia. The Versa HD can decrease the number of daily SBRT or SRS treatments needed to five or less and dramatically reduces treatment delivery time from hours to minutes. Patients can immediately return to normal activities.

The new unit in Sioux Falls is one of the first machines of its kind to be installed in the nation and was supported through a $4.2 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.