PRESS RELEASE Stockholm, Sweden, October 24, 2007 UPMC Presbyterian's Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, a leading radiosurgery center in the U.S., successfully has commenced patient treatments with Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ from Elekta.
Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion is the latest and most advanced solution on the market for non-invasive treatment of brain disorders and this highly innovative system was first used at UPMC on September 28. Immediately, UPMC was able to make full use of the new system and the center now is treating on average three patients, with full course treatments, per day.
Gamma Knife® surgery is used to treat numerous neurosurgical conditions, including brain tumors such as metastatic cancer, as well as, vascular malformations and certain functional disorders. This unmatched method provides pinpoint accuracy, high efficiency and outstanding results. Patients benefit from fast, painless treatment, often conducted in an outpatient surgical setting without the need for general anesthesia or even convalescence. To this date, about 500,000 patients have undergone Gamma Knife surgery.
L. Dade Lunsford, M.D., F.A.C.S., is Lars Leksell Professor of Neurosurgery and Distinguished Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He has served more than 25 years as a consultant to Elekta, and assisted in the development of the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion.
“Dr. Douglas Kondziolka and I are experienced neurosurgeons who have worked with the Leksell Gamma Knife in thousands of patients. We had the opportunity to participate in the design team created by Elekta, along with a small group of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and engineers from the company,” Dr. Lunsford says. “Elekta asked, ‘If you could create the perfect radiosurgical tool, how would you design it?’ Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion is the representation of that partnership – it was redesigned from the ground up, based on a lot of user experience. The medical device industry does not always do that, but in this case, Elekta asked the users to design the product.”
Technological advances are a leap forward
Dr. Lunsford says the team had a tall order to fill. “We wanted to increase the volume of the brain, neck and upper spine that could be treated, reduce radiation exposure to patients and staff, improve how conformally and selectively we could confine the dose delivery to every target, increase patient comfort during the procedure, improve patient flow, and maximize the precision of the robotic positioning system. All of these issues were solved with the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion. Our hopes and expectations have been surpassed by the actual product.”
Dr. Lunsford says Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion is a robust, reliable and extremely versatile radiosurgical device. “The actual procedure is exceedingly fast, so treatment times are much shorter. Because of the redesign, patients can now be treated in a neutral neck position, and the bed is much wider as well.”
Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion technology is an enormous advance in brain radiosurgery, says Dr. Lunsford, and a huge leap forward in the field. “Among the many applications that have been performed by Gamma Knife is the increasing incidence of metastatic brain cancer. Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion offers enormous opportunity to treat lesions all over the brain with excellent patient comfort in a single treatment,” he says. “This will continue to change how metastatic brain cancer is treated around the world.”
UMPC – Elekta partnership going strong
The University of Pittsburgh has been a primary collaboration site for many of Elekta’s new technologies, from stereotactic frames to surgical planning systems. “We put in the first Leksell Gamma Knife in North America in 1987,” explains Dr. Lunsford. “We also have used the Leksell Gamma Knife B, C and 4C units over the last 20 years. We now use the 4C unit and the Perfexion unit side by side in the same radiosurgical suite. We continue to use the original Leksell Gamma Knife U unit for radiobiological research.” Since 1987, UPMC has performed almost 9,000 Leksell Gamma Knife surgeries and trained over 1,000 neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, neuro-otologists and medical physicists in the appropriate usage of the Leksell Gamma Knife.
UPMC continues to use a full range of Elekta stereotactic systems including a new Elekta Synergy® S system for spinal radiosurgery that is going online next week. “Elekta has been a very collaborative partner,” says Dr. Lunsford, “which is critical for the success of both academic institutions and companies like Elekta, because testing and product development occurs within these partnerships.”