More than one hundred patients have benefited from the cutting-edge M6 CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery system since it was installed at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) in 2015.
HMC was the first healthcare organization in the region to offer treatment using the CyberKnife system and is one of a few hospital systems worldwide to have a system equipped with the M6 Incise™ Multileaf Collimator - specialist technology that further enhances the ability to target the radiation dose distribution.
CyberKnife is one of the most advanced forms of radiosurgery. The painless, non-invasive treatment uses a robotic arm to deliver highly focused beams of radiation to destroy tumors or lesions within the body. The flexibility of the robotic arm makes treatment possible to areas of the body that can't be treated by other radiosurgery techniques, such as the spinal cord.
Compared to other radiosurgery techniques, CyberKnife offers several advantages to patients, including rapid relief from pain and other symptoms. Treatments are performed on an outpatient basis, with each treatment typically lasting between 30 to 90 minutes. The number of treatments varies depending on the tumor size, location, and shape. Recovery is often immediate, given the low risk of complications and damage to healthy tissue.
While not every patient is a candidate for CyberKnife treatment, Dr. Noora Al Hammadi, Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at NCCCR, said the revolutionary procedure delivers highly focused radiation precisely where it is needed. Of the approximately one hundred patients treated with the technology at HMC, the majority have had brain and spinal cord tumors.
“CyberKnife is used for the treatment of both malignant and benign tumors. The system is equipped with highly advanced state-of-the-art technology used to deliver high doses of radiation with extremely high precision,” said Dr. Al Hammadi.
According to Dr. Al Hammadi, the CyberKnife system has greatly advanced HMC’s radiation oncology treatment program. Unlike other radiotherapy systems, CyberKnife is capable of real-time tumor tracking, enabling a high dose of radiation to be delivered to targeted cancerous tissue.
“CyberKnife provides more accurate shaping of the dose to the tumor, whilst simultaneously sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. This significantly improves outcomes for patients and reduces short and long-term side effects. For some patients, it is an excellent treatment option and our ability to offer this kind of technology to patients who would benefit from this type of radiosurgery supports HMC’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art cancer care to the people of Qatar," said Dr. Al Hammadi.
Dr. Al Hammadi says CyberKnife treatments involve a team approach to patient care, with the participation of several specialists.
“Once a treatment plan has been developed, the patient is ready to undergo the CyberKnife procedure. The length of each session is dependent on the type of tumor being treated. Each patient is unique and requires a unique treatment plan. If treatment is being delivered in multiple fractions, patients will need to return for additional treatments over several days (typically no more than five), as determined by the Radiation Oncologist,” stated Dr. Al Hammadi.
Dr. Al Hammadi emphasized that while CyberKnife is the best treatment option for some patients, it isn’t the right choice for all patients. She said whether or not treatment by CyberKnife is offered to a patient will depend on the recommendation of the multi-disciplinary team.