First patient on CyberKnife

A minor boy from Assam is set to undergo this painless surgery, a revolutionary technology designed to treat tumours.

Published: 13th March 2009 03:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2012 11:18 PM   |  A+A-


Prof John R Adler (L), the brain behind CyberKnife, with the chairman of Apollo Hospitals, Dr Prathap C Reddy, in the city on Thursday.

CHENNAI: A 15-year-old boy from Assam is set to go under CyberKnife, a revolutionary new technology designed to treat tumours with accuracy and precision.

A robotic radiosurgery system, the CyberKnife was installed at the Apollo Specialty Cancer Hospital a few weeks ago, making it the country’s first hospital to have one. On Thursday, John R Adler, a professor of neurosurgery and radiation oncology at Stanford University Medical Centre, consulted with the patient, who is scheduled to undergo the therapy on Monday.

Prof Adler, who developed the CyberKnife, spoke about its numerous advantages, which included precision, avoiding damage to surrounding health tissue, treatment at an outpatient and saving on hospital costs. “The procedure is completely painless and is over in about 30 minutes. Multiple beams of radiation from many different angles locate the tumour, which gets a strong, killing dose. This is especially useful for sensitive locations such as the brain and spinal cord,’’ he said.

Chairman of Apollo Hospitals, Dr Prathap C Reddy, said the hospital was privileged to have the CyberKnife. “We will probably charge less than five lakhs and if the volume of patients increase, we can further bring down the costs,’’ he said, adding that this would provide hope to hundreds of patients with cancer. “The CyberKnife will complete total cancer management in this hospital,’’ he added.

Discussing the possibility of a future tie-up between the two institutions, Dr Reddy and Prof Adler said that while nothing had been formalized as yet, they were going to work out a tie-up for research. A team of doctors from Apollo has already been trained in using the CyberKnife. The patient, Sankha Subhradey, was admitted with weakness in the fore limbs and breathing and swallowing difficulties.

Doctors found a tumour in the junction between his brain stem and spinal cord, a critical location that controls respiration. After a conventional surgery, Subhradey was able to walk, but the tumour, 2 cm in size, had to removed completely. “He had suitable indicators for CyberKnife treatment.

The session has been planned and he has undergone a simulation session,’’ said Dr M Balamurugan, neurosurgeon. The hospital has already about 15 other patients from which five are from abroad lined for the treatment and many more asking about it, doctors said.

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