Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy

Stereotactic radiosurgery, together with conventional surgery, is one of the most common cancer treatment options available. Radiation can shrink a tumor by killing tumor cells or interfering with the tumor's ability to grow.

During radiosurgery, the tumor is targeted with extremely precise high-energy radiation beams. Even though the procedure is called radiosurgery, no surgery in the conventional sense is performed. Instead, the entire dose needed to destroy the tumor is typically applied in one sessions. However, the treatment is only beneficial if - after determining the exact location, size and shape of a tumor - the maximum dose can be applied exclusively to the tumor itself and not to surrounding healthy tissue or critical structures. To achieve the necessary razor-sharp precision, modern computer technology is needed to plan and carry out the procedure. The method of targeting an object by taking all three dimensions into account is called stereotactic. Stereotactic radiosurgery is mostly used for brain tumors.

Treatment with Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery from BrainLAB

BrainLAB has developed computer-assisted or image-guided systems that meet the requirements of radiotherapy by providing much greater precision than traditional solutions and thus making treatments more effective while at the same time more comfortable for the patient. The goal of radiosurgery is to apply a high dose of radiation to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue as much as possible. To meet these demands, BrainLAB has developed Novalis® Shaped Beam Surgery™.
The system integrates all planning and treatment steps needed for high precision irradiation:

  • Precise localization of the tumor within the patient's body and exact definition of its shape and size
  • Accurate positioning of the patient's tumor during irradiation
  • Exact mirroring of the tumor's shape through a high-resolution beam shaper during treatment
  • Application of the treatment beams from many different directions to keep exposure of healthy tissue to a minimum

Novalis targets the tumor with unprecedented precision, thereby allowing the application of a considerably higher dose to destroy the tumor, while healthy tissue and vital structures can be spared significantly better for optimal treatment outcome

For example, treatment of the following indications is possible:
  • Primary tumors (gliomas, menigiomas)
  • Brain metastases
  • Spinal tumors
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Brain tumors in children
  • Skull base tumors
  • Tumors outside the head, e.g. of prostate, lung or liver

Benefits for the Patient

  • A non-invasive, pain-free, out-patient treatment
  • Patients can usually return home the same day (no hospital stay required, in most cases)
  • Higher precision of dose application during treatment
  • Healthy surrounding tissue is spared
  • Risks and side-effects associated with open brain surgery such as post-operative complications don't apply
  • Overall length of treatment is reduced considerably, one treatment session is often sufficient
  • High doses show good results in small primary tumors

Benefits for the Physician

  • Unprecedented precision
  • Improved treatment outcomes
  • Error reduction
  • Relevant three-dimensional information in real time
  • Higher treatment efficiency
  • Increased safety
Doctor's Opinions

Dr. Antonio A. F. DeSalles, Professor in Residence, Division of Neurosurgery and Department of Radiation Oncology: "Novalis is a very well developed radiosurgery system, not only for the brain, but also for the spine. It's probably the best system available at this point in terms of precision and quality of treatment."

Dr. Samuel Ryu, Head of the Radiosurgery Program at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, USA about the treatment of spinal tumors with Novalis (Britain: The BrainLAB System) "The results are encouraging. All of the patients we followed experienced a rapid and significant degree of pain relief. Half of those experienced complete pain relief within two days of the radiosurgery treatment. To date, we have treated more than 100 patients with spinal metastases with single dose radiosurgery. All the patients experienced a reduction in pain and an improved quality of life following treatment'

Dr. Guy Storme, Director of the University Clinic for Radiotherapy (AZUVB) in Brussels, Belgium: "With BrainLAB's new x-ray-based positioning system we can position our patients with an unprecedented precision of 2mm or better for radiotherapy treatment. Clinical validation shows high levels of set-up accuracy on a day-to-day basis and that positioning can be accomplished within the same time frame as conventional patient set-up. In the first nine months with the system, we have applied the BrainLAB technology to more than 50 patients with prostate cancer, 35 patients with liver metastasis, as well as patients with pancreatic and lung tumors."

Where is this technology being used?

  • UCLA Medical Center, USA
  • Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, USA
  • Scottsdale Healthcare Hospital, USA
  • University of Colorado Hospital, Denver, USA
  • University of Rochester Medical Center, USA
  • University Clinic Erlangen, Germany
  • AZVU Brussels, Belgium