Austin CyberKnife Upgrades Technology, Expands Treatment to Larger Patient Population

Austin CyberKnife has become one of the first centers in the world to receive technology upgrades that expand its ability to treat lung tumors in certain types of patients.

The latest CyberKnife features lung optimization treatment (LOT), which allows patients with conditions like emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to undergo CyberKnife treatment without the use of fiducials when previously they may not have been appropriate candidates because of the requirement of fiducials to mark the tumor.

Although no cutting is involved in CyberKnife treatment, physicians treating lung tumors with the CyberKnife sometimes implant fiducials — small metal markers — in or near the tumor through a needle under CT guidance or via bronchoscopy. Since tumors in the lung move during treatment due to normal patient breathing patterns, fiducials assist physicians in identifying the exact location of the tumor and ensuring the CyberKnife’s radiation beam is locked on the target, avoiding surrounding

Austin CyberKnife’s latest technology featuring LOT reduces the need for placing fiducials in higher-risk lung tumor healthy tissue.

Lung cancer patients already suffering from chronic lung disease, however, may not be able to undergo the fiducial implantation process without increased risk of a pneumothorax, or collapsed lung patients. Instead, the new technology uses cameras and medical imaging to determine in real time the tumor location and ensure the CyberKnife remains locked on target.

“The LOT system is a major advancement that opens CyberKnife treatment to more lung cancer patients who may not have previously been candidates due to other health issues,” says Douglas Rivera, M.D., Austin CyberKnife Medical Director. “In some cases, patients with chronic pulmonary disease diagnosed with lung cancer have few alternatives for treatment.”

CyberKnife offers painless cancer treatment and treats cancerous and benign tumors in the brain, spine, lung, liver, pancreas, prostate, kidney and eye through a process called stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating tumors with high-dose radiation precisely aimed from different angles.

Austin CyberKnife is a department of University Medical Center Brackenridge, a member of the Seton Healthcare Family. It offers the only CyberKnife system in the greater Austin area. For more information, call (512) 324-8060 or visit

MD News October 2011, Austin



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