Friday, May 23, 2008

Conference Debrief: CyberKnife

Karen's doing well. We met with Dr. Moriarty this morning and he debriefed us on the conference that took place this week (Tuesday) at Overlook. He was rather serious but understandably so.

From what we could discern this is a coming-together of various experts and leaders in various disciplines, radiology, oncology, surgery etc.. The agenda is to review key patients' cases both in terms of knowledge sharing (how the patient is doing) as well as idea generation (where to go next).
Not that Dr Dan doesn't know what to do next but rather he wants to solicit input and guidance from a wide audience to get the best possible outcome for Karen.

Dr Dan told us the group was VERY impressed with her. The group reviewed ALL her scans, all the way back to April 2007, not just the last set. Without treatment this time last year, she'd no longer be with us. Thanks to the treatment plan and her determination we are in a much better situation. Her tumors have shrunken, some have died. Microscopic disease is likely still around and we'll continue on chemo for that. The next step is to decide what ELSE we can do.

There are a couple of options;
  • Surgery - to remove what she has left in the liver.
  • Radio Frequency Ablation - To burn what's left.
  • Embolization - to remove the tumors' blood supply and kill it.
  • SirSpheres - to Irradiate what's left with tiny tiny bits of stuff that carry radiation into the tumors.
  • CyberKnife treatment - This one we talked quite a bit on and I think it's where Dr Dan is leaning.
The CyberKnife system uses a particle accelerator combined with a real-time imaging system as well as "seeds" placed in the liver to directly target the hyper-metabolic activity (tumor) and kill it.

The procedure is painless and done on an out-patient basis. It's also extremely accurate with radiation being targeted to the sub-millimeter. As if that wasn't enough the entire procedure is done by robots!

There are a number of videos on YouTube that describe how it works. This is truly next-generation technology and YES our hospital (Overlook in Summit) has one.

Dr Dan is away to Africa for the next two weeks and we'll talk more about this when he gets back. Until then, chemo is the order of the day.

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