NewYork-Presbyterian Radiation Oncology and Neurosurgery Programs Bolstered With Next-Generation Gamma Knife and Linear Accelerator

New Technologies Increase Clinicians' Ability to Target Brain Tumors and Other Cancers

Jun 8, 2011


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has two new treatment options for patients with brain tumors and other cancers — a next-generation radiosurgical Gamma Knife® and linear accelerator.

The two radiosurgical technologies direct highly focused radiation to destroy tumors. The outpatient procedures are painless and performed while the patient is awake.

"This technology upgrade allows us to continue to offer the best available treatment options for a wide range of cancerous and benign conditions," says Dr. Clifford Chao, radiation oncologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Our clinical care team, including radiation oncologists, oncologists and surgeons, works closely with patients and their families to provide coordinated care, including state-of-the-art treatments and prevention strategies."

NewYork-Presbyterian's Gamma Knife program was first established in 1998, and its linear accelerator has been available since 1985.

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

The Hospital's new stereotactic radiosurgery system — the Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ from Elekta — is being used to treat brain tumors and other neurological conditions. The new technology is able to reach places in the cranium, such as the skull base, that have traditionally been difficult to treat. It also offers the ability to treat multiple brain metastases in one therapy session with very rapid treatment times.

Dr. Michael Sisti, neurosurgeon and co-director of the Center for Radiosurgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, says the new Gamma Knife technology will increase the speed, precision and flexibility of neurosurgery. "This will allow us to better target certain skull-base tumors — particularly those in the oral pharynx and the upper cervical spine."

Dr. Susan Pannullo, neurosurgeon and director of neuro-oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, has used Gamma Knife surgery to treat many of her patients who have one or more brain metastases. She sees it as an excellent alternative to open surgery or whole-brain radiation therapy, particularly for patients with more than one lesion.

"The ability to treat multiple brain metastases in one therapy session with very rapid treatment times is certainly very appealing," she says. "We encounter a large number of complex skull-base tumors, many of which are operated on with traditional surgery. However, even with advanced techniques, you sometimes have small residual tumors. These cases often are best done with a highly targeted treatment such as Gamma Knife surgery."

Linear Accelerator

The linear accelerator — the Siemens ARTISTE™ Solution — targets tumors in the head and neck, lung, breast, abdomen and prostate. The new device is faster and more precise and offers greater customization than the previous generation of linear accelerators. It also allows for a dramatically reduced treatment course, from weeks to days.

"Linear accelerators have made radiotherapy for cancer more powerful and accurate. This not only makes it possible to control or cure cancers, but it also reduces side effects, and, importantly, makes the treatment experience more comfortable for patients," says Dr. Chao. "The latest generation of devices is better able to effectively target tumors in any area of the body, automatically adjusting to the tumor's position based on real-time image guidance. Research studies will help us develop the very best approaches for harnessing this incredible technology in treating a wide variety of cancers."

For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has more than 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Media Contact:

Gloria Chin 212-305-5587