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UT Southwestern launches clinical trial for treatment of breast cancer using CyberKnife
Date:2/15/2011

DALLAS Feb. 15, 2011 Breast-cancer patient Kristin Wiginton is the first to be treated at UT Southwestern Medical Center with high-beam radiation using the Accuray CyberKnife System, which offers improved cosmetic results, less radiation exposure to surrounding tissue and a shorter treatment period.

Dr. Wiginton is among 45 participants in a UT Southwestern-based clinical trial the first of its kind in the Southwest investigating use of the radiation delivery system for breast cancer. Her post-lumpectomy therapy lasted one-third the duration of a typical radiation session for a breast-cancer patient.

While CyberKnife has been used at UT Southwestern since 1997, it primarily has been targeted for tumors of the brain and spine.

"If this had not worked out for me, I would have gone with six and a half weeks of traditional radiation," said Dr. Wiginton, 45, an associate professor of health studies at Texas Woman's University.

Instead, her treatment took less than two weeks and consisted of five 90-minute sessions every two to three days. Her final treatment was Feb. 3 at UT Southwestern University Hospital - Zale Lipshy.

Radiation therapy following a lumpectomy is commonly recommended to remove potential residual cancer, said Dr. Robert Timmerman, professor of radiation oncology and neurological surgery who is leading the study. Current radiation protocols for breast cancer, however, can be long and uncomfortable. Shorter courses treating smaller breast volumes, called partial breast irradiation, have shown considerable promise in clinical studies, he said. The most common partial breast irradiation approach, brachytherapy, requires a catheter implant via a surgical procedure. Another method delivers the treatment using conventional radiotherapy equipment but may lead to less-pleasing cosmetic results.

Dr. Wiginton described her first CyberKnife session as painless. Though a bit tired, she said the treatme
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Contact: Debbie Bolles
debbie.bolles@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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