Thursday, March 10, 2011

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is an intensive radiation treatment that delivers a concentrated beam of radiation to tumors as they are located during surgery. IORT allows direct radiation to the tumor while sparing normal surrounding tissue. The type of IORT most commonly used at Mayo Clinic is also called intraoperative electron radiation therapy, or IOERT.
Thousands of people have received IORT treatment at Mayo Clinic. The IORT team at Mayo Clinic includes specialists in radiation oncology who perform the procedure, surgery,anesthesiology and pathology. In Arizona, Mayo Clinic is one of only a few institutions in the United States that uses a Mobetron, a mobile device that can provide radiation therapy in the operating room.

Conditions treated with IORT

IORT is used for cancer that cannot be cured with surgery alone and for tumors that are either attached or close to vital tissues. Recurrent rectal cancer is the most common condition treated with IORT at Mayo Clinic. IORT is also used to treat:
For people who have recurring cancer and people who have locally advanced cancers, IORT can be an effective therapy in achieving long-term tumor control.

How it works

IORT is almost always used along with external radiation prior to surgery. During surgery, after the surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible, a machine called a linear accelerator delivers a concentrated beam of electron radiation directly to the tumors. The surgeon moves healthy organs out of the radiation field to prevent damage, and special tubes are used to focus the beams safely on the tumor(s).
IORT also may be used when the remaining tumor is too small to see.

Advantages of IORT

IORT allows doctors to administer high doses of radiation to tumors without exposing nearby healthy organs to radiation. A single dose of intraoperative radiation may have as much effect on the tumor as 10 to 20 daily radiation treatments. IORT offers the following benefits:
  • Higher radiation dosage to cancer cells
  • Faster radiation delivery during surgery
  • Decreased radiation exposure to normal surrounding tissue
  • Safer application compared with traditional radiation treatments
Like other treatments, IORT carries some risks. Mayo Clinic doctors discuss the benefits and risks with people to help them decide on a treatment.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

NewGen radiation treatment effective in advanced head and neck cancer

Clinical trials at Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland to assess the efficacy and safety of boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) indicate that it has the potential to treat patients with advanced head and neck cancer who have not responded to previous treatments.

BNCT treatment produces radiation inside a tumor using boron-10 and thermal neutrons. Boron-10 is introduced into cancer cells with the help of phenylalanine, a special carrier substance. The tumor is then irradiated with low-energy neutrons.

The neutrons react with the boron to generate high-LET radiation, which can destroy the cancer cells. One to two BNCT treatment sessions may be sufficient to destroy a tumor, while keeping the impact of radiation on surrounding healthy tissue to a minimum.

Prof Heikki Joensuu and his team looked at 30 patients referred to HUCH's Department of Oncology from hospitals around Finland.

Apart from palliative chemotherapy, conventional treatment was no longer considered possible for the patients treated in the BNCT trial.

Seventy six percent of patients responded well to the treatment and 30 percent were still alive two years after treatment; although only one patient has survived 55 months.

"The positive results that we have achieved in treating head and neck tumours have convinced us of the benefits of further developing BNCT treatment and the services needed to administer it," said Boneca's Board of Directors chairman Seppo Pakkala.

"As BNCT saves healthy tissue, this promises to make it a good choice as a first-line therapy for patients with large head and neck tumours, avoiding the need for extensive surgery," he said.

"Additional studies will be needed, however, before BNCT can be adopted for this use. We would also like to extend the use of BNCT to treating tumours in other anatomical areas for which there are no forms of treatment currently available," he added.

The results of the study have recently been published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics. (ANI)