Since the Ascension Via Christi CyberKnife Center opened its doors in 2006, the clinical team has used the system to provide highly precise, nonsurgical and noninvasive treatment to more than 4,000 patients with cancerous tumors and benign lesions.
Radiation oncologists David Bryant, MD, and Salman Hasan, MD, discuss the benefits of the new S7 CyberKnife with Claudio Ferraro, Chief Operating Officer for Ascension Medical Group Via Christi, and Don King, Ascension Via Christi Chief Executive Officer and Ascension Kansas Ministry Market Executive.
With the new CyberKnife S7 System, a fully robotic radiotherapy device that uses speed, precision and motion synchronization technology to treat tumors throughout the body, the team can now treat a wider range of tumor types in even less time than before.
The system is the first and only radiotherapy device using true robotic precision and artificial intelligence-driven Synchrony technology to track, detect and adapt for tumor motion or patient movement in real-time throughout the cancer treatment delivery. Ascension Via Christi began using the new system in July.
“Our upgrade to the new CyberKnife S7 System is allowing us to treat patients more efficiently, minimizing the time patients spend in daily treatments and making it possible to treat more cancer patients each day,” says radiation oncologist David Bryant, MD, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology and leader of the Ascension Via Christi CyberKnife Center team.
That’s important as demand for treatment using the CyberKnife System, which offers a highly precise, nonsurgical, noninvasive treatment for tumors and lesions anywhere in the body, including the brain, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate and spine, continues to grow.
“This was emerging technology when I completed medical school in 1995,” says Dr. Bryant, who before joining Ascension Via Christi in 2008 was the 22nd radiation oncologist nationwide to establish a CyberKnife program. “Today, stereotactic body radiotherapy utilizing Cyberknife continues to grow as the technology and indications for its use evolves and expands and it is embraced by caregivers and patients alike.”
CyberKnife treatment is an outpatient procedure that does not require incisions or general anesthesia. Most patients will not require hospitalization or a long recovery period. The system specializes in delivering stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS, and stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT, treatment processes that require an extremely high degree of precision and accuracy. This allows typical treatment to be administered in just one to five sessions.
“I had to have a mask made, but then just lay comfortably on the table for about 34 minutes,” says Sandra Wiswell of Ponca City, Oklahoma, who was being treated for a noncancerous brain tumor and was among the first patients to undergo treatment with Ascension Via Christi’s new CyberKnife S7. “You don’t really feel anything other than being a little bit tired afterward, and my treatment was done in just five sessions.”
Sandra says she recommends it as an option for those who meet the criteria. Her husband, Edward, subsequently was treated with CyberKnife therapy at Ascension Via Christi for prostate cancer in just five sessions over a week and a half.
“There’s nothing to the treatment,” says Edward. “You don’t feel a thing. I’d recommend it over the other way any day.”
Investing in the future
Work began on the construction of a new vault to house Ascension Via Christi’s upgraded system in late 2019 and was completed in June. The first patient was treated the following month after physicist Jeff Berry had commissioned the robot to ensure its safety and efficacy.
“Today, there are more options than ever to treat tumors located in almost any area of the body. At Ascension Via Christi, we are committed to helping patients identify the best possible treatment option for them, based on their particular diagnosis, overall health, age and lifestyle,” Dr. Bryant says. “We believe that means being able to offer patients a full complement of cancer treatment, including the most advanced options available.”
Being able to receive treatment in five or fewer treatments is particularly beneficial for patients for whom travel is difficult or who live outside the immediate area.
“Cancer care can be really overwhelming and life-interrupting for patients and their families,” says radiation oncologist Salman Hasan, DO, who joined Ascension Via Christi in August 2019 upon completing his residency. “With CyberKnife, we can deliver ablative doses strong enough to eliminate the cancer and precise enough to reduce side effects. For most of our patients, that means five or fewer sessions over no more than a 10-day period of time.”
To find out more about noninvasive radiation therapy options, including the CyberKnife System, visit viachristi.org/cyberknife. To make a referral or schedule a consultation with Dr. Bryant or Dr. Hasan, call 316-261-3200.