Cyberknife arrives at NJ's Overlook Hospital

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Overlook Hospital, part of New Jersey's Atlantic Health System, said it is now treating its first patients with the hospital's new $5 million Cyberknife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System, an incision-free "surgical" option that uses technology to precisely outline malignant or benign tumors and destroy them with targeted radiotherapy.

The CyberKnife treats inoperable tumors in the brain and is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to treat lesions on the spine. The CyberKnife can be used to treat other "hard-to-reach" tumors in the body, such as in the lungs and pancreas, and can treat all areas in the head and neck.

CyberKnife works by treating tumors and other lesions through "image-guided radiosurgery." A combination of CT scans, x-rays, sophisticated computer software and sensors create an image inside the body to guide the robotic arm that delivers beams of radiation, or radiosurgery to the tumor target. The CyberKnife can strike the tumor with radiation from over 1200 different angles, allowing better coverage of the target than any other radiosurgery system.

Initially, Overlook's CyberKnife team will treat patients with brain and spine tumors. By fall 2004, they plan to treat tumors elsewhere in the body, such as the lung and pancreas, and other benign disorders in areas such as the pituitary gland and middle ear for acoustic neuromas that cause hearing loss.