llinois CyberKnife, a department of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, is developing a new treatment protocol that offers hope for patients suffering from a form of cancer which until recently was regarded as incurable.
The protocol, overseen by Illinois CyberKnife Medical Director Dr. Arica Hirsch, will treat 15 to 20 liver metastasis patients with a combination of CyberKnife® stereotactic body radiation therapy and chemotherapy. As a member of the Alliance Oncology network of radiation therapy facilities, the center’s protocol will be available to all of Alliance’s stereotactic radiosurgery centers across the United States.
“Our vision is to create a mirror image at other Alliance Oncology sites. Illinois CyberKnife will generate our own individual data, which will be analyzed with treatment results from other sites. All of our findings will be presented throughout the Alliance partner network in an effort to ensure clinical quality and optimal treatment outcomes,” says Anne Dunlap, senior site administrator.
Liver metastasis was long considered incurable and treatment instead focused on palliative care. Illinois CyberKnife’s clinical team developed the protocol based on recent studies that show aggressive, local treatment can extend survival for certain patients.
“Traditionally, liver metastasis has been treated with surgical ablation. But as physicians have found, not all patients are amenable to those procedures,” Dr. Hirsch said. “The precision of CyberKnife technology makes it an ideal treatment method for study.”
CyberKnife treats tumors with high-dose radiation beams in five or fewer sessions. The beams are aimed from any of approximately 1,600 targeted angles, creating a highly conformal radiation dose. The CyberKnife’s robotic arm is guided by an X-ray-based targeting system that delivers radiation to within less than a millimeter of the targeted tumor, minimizing radiation exposure to healthy surrounding tissue.
Enrollment in Illinois CyberKnife’s protocol is currently active. The study will be open to colorectal cancer patients of all ages who have four or fewer liver metastases and have not developed metastases in other parts of the body. There is no size limit for the metastases, though to qualify, candidates must have normal liver function. For more information on how to participate, contact the center.