Robotic stereotactic radiosurgery is available at the Prostate Center using the latest development in radiation therapy technology. The CyberKnife system uses military technology similar to that used for cruise missile guidance to deliver accurate beams of radiation to a targeted tumor or lesion. One of the latest advances in radiation oncology, the CyberKnife is able to create hundreds of beams that are capable of targeting the tumor with pinpoint accuracy. This three dimensional approach to deliver a focused radiation dose achieves an outcome similar to IMRT with potentially fewer side effects.
Georgetown University Hospital was the first center on the East Coast to begin using the CyberKnife for cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the head, neck, and spine in March 2002. The Hospital continues to provide the only CyberKnife services in the District of Columbia. Since 2002, Georgetown physicians have treated over 1500 patients. A second CyberKnife system will be installed in July 2007.
Before receiving the actual CyberKnife radiation treatment, patients are first fitted with tiny gold markers that direct the CyberKnife's radiation beams to the tumor with pinpoint accuracy. Three to four of these tiny gold chips, about the size of a chocolate sprinkle are inserted into or near the tumor. Traditionally, these are inserted through a needle using CAT scan guidance or surgery. However, new techniques pioneered at Georgetown University Hospital involve no surgery and pose fewer risks of infection or bleeding.