Stereotactic Body Frame

The Department of Radiation Oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine is one of only a small number of sites in the nation that have the capability to perform stereotactic conformal radiotherapy in the chest and abdomen. The concept of extremely precise radiation delivery as popularized in radiosurgery treatments to the brain can also be used to treat certain lesions in the chest and abdomen when appropriate. The Stereotatic Body Frame was purchased in conjunction with the Gamma Knife equipment and was commissioned in 1997.

Stereotactic conformal radiotherapy using the stereotactic body frame allows dose escalation with minimal exposure to surrounding normal tissues. The stereotactic body frame allows for precise and reproducible localization of tumors located in the chest, abdomen, or pelvic regions. With this technology, treatment typically requiring weeks to months to perform with conventional radiation therapy can be performed in two or three treatments. The stereotactic body frame is coupled to an extremely sophisticated 3-D conformal treatment planning system that exploits the localization characteristics of the frame itself. As with the Gamma Knife radiosurgery unit, indications for the stereotactic body frame in treatment of malignant lesions outside the brain continue to expand. Robert Timmerman, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology launched a new study in February 2000 in which the body frame is being used to treat early stage lung cancer in patients who cannot tolerate surgery. With stereotactic radiotherapy, only three treatments are administered during a ten day course rather than the more conventional radiation therapy that requires more than thirty treatments in five to seven weeks.

The Department of Radiation Oncology at IU is also beginning a new trial, which will utilize stereotactic radiotherapy for treatment of inoperable gynecologic tumors, which have been previously treated with radiation and recurred in the abdomen or pelvis. Normally these tumors are not treated due to the high risk of complications.

Mark Langer, MD, principal investigator, along with Marcus Randall, MD, department chair and William A. Mitchell Professor of Radiation Oncology, and David Moore, MD are establishing guidelines to determine the maximum dose possible without causing severe complications.

The stereotactic body frame will enable cancer patients who cannot undergo surgery, a viable treatment alternative.

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