One of the major challenges involving lung cancer is early detection and treatment. Levine Cancer Institute’s Division of Radiation Oncology (LCI), including many of SERO’s physicians, is proud to have received full funding to start a clinical trial specifically for patients with lung cancer in the early stages.
During this trial, doctors will be applying surface guide radiation therapy (SGRT), an emerging technology that is used to improve radiation treatment accuracy. SGRT uses a high-definition 3D camera to trace a patient’s external surface so that doctors can accurately target and destroy cancer cells. In this manner, SGRT can be used to target radiation precisely, minimizing damage to healthy cells.
SGRT can also detect when a patient is moving throughout treatment, so the radiation beam will only be activated when the patient is in the correct position. Combined with a technique called deep inspiration breathing, SGRT reduces radiation damage to the heart and improves treatment accuracy and patient comfort.
Another benefit of SGRT is that the treatment area receives the maximum dose of radiation therapy while limiting the amount of radiation that enters healthy cells. And, SGRT makes it easier to track patients as they hold their breath, which spares healthy lung tissue from the side effects of radiation therapy. With SGRT, it is easier to track lung cancer patients as they go through the breathing cycle, increasing the efficacy of this treatment technique. When patients are able to hold their breath effectively during the treatment process, the tumor remains still. That way, the doctor is not trying to hit a moving target. In this manner, it is easier to protect healthy lung tissue from radiation exposure.
These are just a few of the many benefits of SGRT and it will be exciting to track this clinical trial as it unfolds. SGRT is already used in the treatment of breast cancer located on the left side of the body where it reduces the radiation exposure of the heart
The team on this clinical trial at LCI is led by Dr. John Heinzerling, who is predicting that SGRT should allow doctors to treat patients with lung cancer effectively while minimizing the development of side effects and complications. Right now, LCI’s Division of Radiation Oncology has 18 patients who have been successfully enrolled in this novel clinical trial.
“This is state of the art treatment that we will be leading in publications starting next year,” stated Dr. Heinzerling. “Being able to provide the most effective- and safest treatment to our patients is our top priority, and if we are able to change the standard course of care for high dose radiation in lung cancer patients through this innovative technology, that will be a big step forward towards giving all patients with cancer better quality of life.”
It will be exciting to see how this clinical trial unfolds and how it benefits patients and their families. This clinical trial is a testament of the quality and caliber of our doctors at SERO, many of whom are the best in the nation and seek out the latest technologies to improve patient care.