CyberKnife at Winthrop Revolutionizes Cancer Care

Vol. 15, No. 1
Summer 2005

  • CyberKnife at Winthrop Revolutionizes Cancer Care

  • Stroke Center Receives NYS Department of Health's Stamp of Approval

  • New Corkscrew Device Saves Stroke Patients' Lives

  • Minimally Invasive Procedure Seeks and Destroys Cancer Cells, Sparing Healthy Tissue

  • Early Detection and Flexible Treatment Get Player Back in the Game

  • Winthrop Performs Unusual Heart Operation

  • McCann Endoscopy Center Opens

  • Winthrop is First to Offer New Treatment for Female Urinary Incontinence

  • 'Dining Out' Series Teaches Healthful Choices

  • Asian Flare Sets the Stage for 2005 Gala

  • Comprehensive Class Alleviates Anxieties of Patients Facing Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery

  • Andy Foundation's NFL Day Benefits Cancer Center for Kids

  • Get a Jump on Your Holiday Shopping While Helping Young Patients

  • Jets All-Pro Center Teams Up with Winthrop for Second Annual Challenge Benefiting Young Patients

  • Creative Cards Benefit Cancer Center for Kids

  • Starlight Starbright Foundation Tours Peds Inpatient Center

  • Reach Out and Read Program Receives Generous Support

  • The Future: Your Legacy

  • Great Neck 5K

  • Winthrop Wins Grant to 'Reinvent the House Call'

  • Team Winthrop Rallies to Support Hurricane Relief Efforts

    Back to Publications

  • Winthrop's CyberKnife Team

    Left (back row): Garry J. Schwall, MBA, RPA-C, Vice President, Administration; Matthew R. Witten, PhD, DABR, Director of CyberKnife Radiosurgery; William P. Reed, MD, Chairman, Department of Surgery. Left (front row): Scott L. Schubach, MD, Chairman, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery; Alan J. Katz, MD, Chief, Division of Radiation Oncology. Right (L-R): Michael H. Brisman, MD, Chief, Division of Neurosurgery; Jeffrey A. Brown, MD, attending neurosurgeon; Harry Staszewski, MD, Chief, Division of Oncology/ Hematology; Jonathan A. Haas, MD, Associate Director, Radiation Oncology; James Matera, BS, RTT, Technical Director of Radiation Oncology.

    First hospital in metro area to offer anti-tumor technology

    For patients who have tumors that are difficult to treat, Winthrop-University Hospital has a vital new resource - the region's first and only CyberKnife®.

    It is revolutionizing radiosurgery against cancer anywhere in the body. The powerful new antitumor technology is operated by the Winthrop's multidisciplinary team in the Hospital's Institute for Cancer Care.

    One of its main advantages, according to Michael Brisman, MD, Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery, is that CyberKnife can replace conventional surgery in certain cases.

    Radiosurgeries are painless, bloodless, outpatient procedures. Patients can resume normal activities soon afterwards.

    "For neurosurgeons," adds Dr. Brisman, "CyberKnife is particularly exciting because it now allows us to perform frameless, stereotactic radiosurgery for tumors of the brain, spine and spinal cord, as well as hypofractionated brain radiosurgery (brain treatments done in 3-5 sessions).

    CyberKnife adds to the already high level of care and complements our current surgical, radiation, and medical management of benign and malignant tumors of the nervous system." CyberKnife has further advantages as well.

    It is an additional treatment option for tumors that have already received maximum allowed radiation.

    It can be used to treat multiple tumors at different bodily locations during a single session. There is no need for an invasive, uncomfortable head frame with skull pins for brain treatments, and anesthesia is not required. There is reduced risk of complications associated with conventional surgery. And patients may have an improved quality of life.

    Alan Katz, MD, Chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology, listed these additional conditions amenable to CyberKnife treatment: lung, kidney, liver and pancreatic tumors; acoustic neuromas; recurrent and residual tumors; arteriovenous malformations (AVMs); and functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia.

    "CyberKnife uses state-of-the-science, computer- controlled robotics and advanced guidance technology to deliver precisely targeted radiation beams to benign and cancerous tumors," he added.

    "The high-dose beams can be sculpted to reach even small, deeply embedded, complex masses and lesions with better sparing of normal tissue surrounding the tumor. We can now access previously untreatable tumors throughout the body when radiation therapy is indicated," Dr. Katz continued.

    To accomplish this, two advanced technologies are coupled together to operate CyberKnife. A lightweight radiation source (linear accelerator) is mounted on an ultra-flexible, multijointed robotic arm that moves in accord with a sophisticated imageguidance system. This utilizes several computerized X-ray cameras to precisely locate the size and shape of the tumor, track its position and keep the linear accelerator's beams on target even as a patient breathes during treatment or moves his head, confounding effects of other systems.

    To provide the most comprehensive care for each patient, explained William Reed, MD, Chairman of Winthrop's Department of Surgery, the CyberKnife program "uses a multidisciplinary team of surgical oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, radiation therapists, physicists, diagnostic radiologists, technicians, nurses and other specialists as needed. They meet to review and evaluate each patient's condition to determine whether CyberKnife is an appropriate treatment option. Treatment plans are individually tailored to each patient's needs." Most insurances are accepted for CyberKnife treatment.

    For more information and appointments, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit

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