Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cyber Knife, Gamma Knife and others

In addition to the more typical linear accelerator and brachytherapy unit designs, there are also radiation treatment units offering a unique design approach. Two of these are:

The Cyber Knife (Manufactured by Accuray) which uses a robotic arm and highly sophisticated 3D planning software to offer full body treatment. Here is a video overview of the system. You can see that the robot arm and patient gantry move to achieve the best access to the tumor.

Gamma Knife (Manufactured by Elekta), specializing in brain tumors. The system uses about 200 low-dose beams of energy to focus on the brain tumor. This allows the healthy brain surrounding the tumor to receive a low-dose of radiation and the tumor to receive the combined energy of all the beams.

Here is the manufacturers video about one of their 3 current models:

The design of all these systems are unique because their inventors have taken different approaches to building their mouse-trap. The ultimate goal is the same: Deliver a lethal dose of radiation to the tumor, while minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.

For each of these devices, the room shielding requirements are similar to conventional Linear accellerators. Please view the previous Linac post for details.

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