December 11, 2012
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Beginning in January, Dr. Prakash Patel and the Scioto County Cancer Center will begin treating cancer patients with new equipment that can reduce the number of radiation treatments from 40 to just five.
The new equipment, called Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator, provides Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) which was previously only available in Europe. Now it is slowly making its way into the United States, but there are only 15 in the entire U.S. and only two in a five-state local area.
Patients visiting the Scioto County Cancer Center on 10th Street in Portsmouth will immediately notice the use of new technologies from the moment they arrive. The patients scan their fingerprint to deliver doctors and nurses immediate access to their electronic medical records.
“This is called biometrics,” Patel explained. “When the patient comes for the first time, we take the four fingerprints for two fingers. Once the fingerprint is done for the patient and the patient comes for the treatment, they just (press their finger onto the scanner) and their chart will open up. No other chart, so there is no chance for errors. This is phenomenal.”
The biometrics fingerprint scanner arrived in Patel’s office on Monday, while across the hall technicians were installing the new SBRT machine.
“This machine is totally unique. This is the second machine in five states; Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee. The first machine has been installed just 15 days ago at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, and this is going to be the second,” Patel said. “What the advantage of this machine is, it has more accuracy than what we had before. It can also detect the rotational movement during the radiation treatment, which was not available in older machines. It can pick up one millimeter errors, compared to what it used to be maybe five millimeters or a centimeter. Accuracy has increased significantly.”
The machine has 160 MLC (multi leaf collimators), compared to the previous machines that only have 80 MLC. The old machine also delivered about 200 rads a day and the new Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator delivers up to 1,000 rads a day and can treat five tumors simultaneously. The greater accuracy and higher radiation dosages mean fewer treatment visits, Patel explained.
While SBRT is often good for lung cancer, Patel said it really depends on the placement of the cancer within the lung. If it’s on the side of the lung, there’s no problem, but if it’s in the middle it is more difficult to treat with the SBRT machine.
“Because in the middle is the all-important organs — heart, esophagus, trachea — and they cannot tolerate 1,000 refractionations,” Patel said.
SBRT technology started in Europe, he said, and he negotiated a deal with the manufacturer nearly two years ago when he built the Scioto County Cancer Center in Portsmouth. Now cancer patients in southern Ohio have local access to new technologies right at home, instead of traveling several states for treatment. But it’s not just local residents who will use the machine. With only 15 SBRTs in the United States, patients from all over the country can schedule treatment at the Scioto County Cancer Center.
“It is a great advancement and it is a great opportunity for the patient to have the best possible treatment,” Patel said. “Everybody will have it eventually because this is going to be the standard of care, state-of-the-art. We are really excited to give this technology advantage (to Portsmouth) and beyond even to Huntington and Ashland.”
He said the Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator is the next generation of linear accelerators, and will be the industry standard for many years to come.
For more information about the Scioto County Cancer Center, and their new technologies, visit them online at www.sciotocountycancercenter.com.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.