An experimental innovation in cancer treatment from the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine could provide a new, high-precision, noninvasive method of treating early-stage breast cancer. The GammaPod was invented by Cedric Yu, M.S., D.Sc., the Carl M. Mansfield Endowed Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, who patented the technology in 2006. Although the device has not yet been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used on patients, the manufacturer is actively seeking that approval and the department hopes to begin clinical trials as soon as October 2013.
Dr. Yu's research was funded initially by $3.5 million in Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With support from the University of Maryland, Baltimore's Office of Research and Development (ORD), he founded a new company called Xcision Medical Systems, LLC, to pursue the development of the GammaPod. In 2010, Dr. Yu received the University System of Maryland's Entrepreneur of the Year award for his research leading to the development of the GammaPod. "I am so happy that this university encourages entrepreneurship and recognizes the importance of translational research that converts new knowledge into new products," says Dr. Yu.
The GammaPod enables a proven technology called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to be used for breast cancer. SBRT has been used to successfully obliterate inoperable brain tumors and hard-to-reach lung and liver cancers. However, SBRT technology has not been applied to breast cancer. GammaPod system is the first device created specifically for the treatment of breast cancer. It is designed so that patients can receive external radiation treatments while lying on a comfortable treatment couch. The device uses tens of thousands beams of radiation from 36 rotating sources to focus the radiation to the tumor.
|Contact: Karen Robinson|
University of Maryland Medical Center