GPS Tracking for Prostate Cancer Treatment26 Jul 2012
Radiation treatment therapy can be highly effective to treat many types of cancer. However, for some types of cancers — like prostate cancer — it can be tricky. In order to radiate the area that has cancer effectively, oncologists must figure out the location — precisely — of the cancer. Considered a moving target, the prostate shifts during radiation depending on how full or empty the bladder or rectum is. That, coupled with the goal to avoid radiating healthy tissue, and the job of pinpointing the tumor precisely is harder than it seems.
But that may be about to change. Calypso Medical Technologies, Inc., which is headquartered in Seattle, has devised a technology to treat prostate cancer patients using GPS tracking and electromagnetic beacons.
This new technology — called the Calypso System — is capturing a lot of attention in the medical community. Virginia Hospital Center is the latest hospital to offer this first-of-its-kind technology, and is among the growing number of hospitals to do so.
The Calypso System features GPS tracking for Body Technology along with Beacon electromagnetic transponders to deliver precise, accurate, and real-time tracking of cancer tumors to ensure that radiation is focused directly on the tumor and not on surrounding healthy tissue or organs.
Through using these tiny, non-radioactive implanted Beacon transponders, the Calypso System can precisely and accurately track the exact location of the cancerous tumor. This results in less embarrassing side effects for cancer patients, and a better quality of life.
Prior to the Calypos System invention, radiation oncologists had to radiate the entire prostate area, which could result in radiating other healthy organs or causing side effects, like sexual, urinary, or bowel dysfunction. However, research has indicated that patients treated with the Calypso System have sustained significantly less side effects in terms of urinary irritation, fecal incontinence, and bowel frequency and urgency.
“We want our patients to be able to function in their everyday lives with as little interruption as possible, so they can still go to work, take care of their family, etc. Calypso and the other advanced radiation therapy technologies available here make that possible,” said Dr. Bobby Hong, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Hospital Center.
Calypso’s GPS tracking for the body is currently the only FDA-approved technology that can provide real-time tracking of tumors. The technology can be used as a primary radiation treatment or an surgical adjunctive treatment for cancer of the prostate.
With the aid of GPS tracking devices, it’s hopeful that radiology treatments for prostate cancer patients will have a better quality of life.
For a price tag of around $500,000, medical hospitals can purchase the Calypso System.