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Physicians Update


Physicians Update

Summer 2009

New Tool Delivers Higher Doses of Radiation in Less Time


Novalis TXThe UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology is the first center in the Los Angeles area to install a new, state-of-the-art, image-guided device that provides more accurate, concentrated doses of radiation, allowing patients to be treated in fewer visits with fewer side effects.

The Novalis TX has three imaging modalities to track the location of tumors during breathing and other movement, allowing physicians to pinpoint the location of the cancerous tissue and position patients so that radiation is delivered with the highest precision. The device also continuously shapes the radiation beam to mirror the tumor’s size and dimensions as it rotates around the patient, delivering treatment from different angles.

“In some cases, the period needed for radiation can be reduced from six weeks of daily treatments to just three to five days because of the high doses that can be delivered using the SBRT approach,” says Percy Lee, M.D., director of the UCLA Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT ) Program and a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. This results in less radiation to the neighboring normal tissues, greatly reducing side effects while also improving tumor-control rates.

Novalis Body Scan“It allows us to shape the dose and target tumors very precisely to protect normal tissues,” says UCLA radiation oncologist Michael Selch, M.D. The device “will open up new avenues of radiosurgery for us, allowing us to treat even difficult-to-plan tumors with unusual shapes.”

The device is used to treat cancers of the prostate, brain, spine, lung, liver, pancreas and kidney. Because the radiation is so precisely aimed, patients who have inoperable, untreatable tumors may be able to receive therapy they might not otherwise have been given.

To watch a video about the Novalis TX, go to:

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