By Amy E. Hamaker
In the fight to make cancer a disease of the past, Keck Medicine of USC has a new weapon. The Department of Radiation Oncology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC recently received a new Varian TrueBeam STx linear accelerator.
Used to perform external beam radiation treatments for patients who have cancer, linear accelerators deliver high-energy X-rays to the area of a patient’s tumor, destroying cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact. The new linear accelerator allows Keck Medicine of USC to offer the most cutting-edge intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) techniques available.
The system uses sophisticated imaging and respiration synchronization tools to visualize soft tissue during treatment and make changes accordingly. Its high-definition, multi-leaf collimator narrows the radiation beam with precision and allows physicians to provide larger doses of radiation to smaller places accurately. Treatment times are much faster. SBRT also will allow some patients, who would normally require a standard course of 30 to 40 radiation therapy treatments, to be treated in five or fewer treatments.
This is the second linear accelerator for the department, which also has a CT simulator, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a CyberKnife, and a Gamma Knife.
Since the recruitment of multiple faculty members, including Eric L. Chang, MD, as chair, Almon Shiu, PhD, vice chair/chief of medical physics, Richard Jennelle, MD, residency program director, radiation oncology at USC has had numerous advancements in clinical, teaching and research arenas.
“Our radiation oncologists are committed to providing patients with state-of-the-art treatments in a compassionate setting,” said John Ferrelli, chief administrative officer of USC Norris Cancer Hospital. “The new linear accelerator will help them in their work to help form the most effective and comprehensive treatment plans for our patients.”
Having the newest linear accelerator available for patients represents the commitment of Keck Medical Center of USC and Norris Cancer Hospital to provide the latest technology available for its physicians to treat their patients.
“USC Norris has long been a destination for patients seeking the most compassionate and innovative cancer care,” said Scott Evans, PharmD, MHA, CEO of USC Norris Cancer Hospital and Keck Hospital of USC. “We are always looking for novel technologies and new opportunities to provide care that is beyond exceptional. With this new technology, we are doing just that — equipping our physicians with a tool that will have tremendous, lasting benefits for our patients.”