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New 'GPS for the Body' Offers Treatment Option With Minimal Side Effects For Prostate Cancer Patients

ARLINGTON, Va., July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Virginia Hospital Center is among the few hospitals along the east coast to offer the new Calypso® System featuring GPS for the Body technology® and Beacon® electromagnetic transponders for patients with certain types of cancer.  This new technology provides accurate, precise and real-time tracking to keep radiation focused on the tumor resulting in fewer side effects and a better quality of life for the patient.

"When it comes to cancer treatment, one size does not fit all. We're not only trying to establish a cure for the patient, but we also focus on using treatments that promote good quality of life. Once treatment is completed, managing side effects is just as important," said Dr. Bobby Hong, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Hospital Center.  "We want our patients to be able to function in their everyday lives with as little interruption as possible, so they can still go to work, take care of their family, etc.  Calypso and the other advanced radiation therapy technologies available here make that possible."

Using miniaturized, non-ionizing, non-radioactive implanted devices called Beacon transponders, the Calypso System continuously and accurately tracks the location of cancerous tumors.  For example, these rice-sized Beacons are implanted into the prostate or prostatic bed during an outpatient procedure, and are then tracked with a 4D localization and tracking system.  If the prostate or tumor bed moves out of range during treatment, the radiation beam turns off until it comes back into range again. 

The real-time position and motion information provided by the Calypso System offers objective reassurance that radiation treatment is delivered precisely to the prescribed target, not to surrounding healthy tissue. 

While radiation to the pelvic area can affect urinary, bowel and sexual function, research has shown that patients treated with Calypso had significantly fewer side effects in bowel urgency and frequency, fecal incontinence and urinary irritation.  They also had fewer sexual side effects.  Calypso technology allows the radiation oncologist to safely and maximally cover cancerous areas while minimizing normal tissue exposure to radiation. 

Studies have also shown that patients who have undergone the Calypso procedure versus other similar treatments, have lived longer, healthier lives. The Calypso's GPS for the Body is the only FDA-approved technology to track tumors in real time.  Calypso can be used in primary radiation treatment or as an adjunctive treatment to surgery.

Virginia Hospital Center was recently awarded a three-year accreditation in radiation oncology by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).  The ACR-ASTRO seal of accreditation represents the highest level of quality and patient safety for radiation oncology.  To achieve this accreditation, the Hospital's Radiation Oncology Department underwent a rigorous review of their staff qualifications, equipment requirements and quality control procedures.  Virginia Hospital Center is the only hospital in the northern Virginia with the complete range of radiation oncology services, including external beam radiation, CyberKnife®, Calypso and brachytherapy, with ACR-ASTRO accreditation.

About Virginia Hospital Center:
For over 60 years, Virginia Hospital Center has provided exceptional medical services to the Washington metropolitan area. Virginia Hospital Center is a 342-bed, $150 million state-of-the-art facility offering comprehensive healthcare and multiple Centers of Excellence including Cardiology & Cardiovascular Surgery, the Reinsch Pierce Family Center for Breast Health, Neuroscience, Oncology, Total Joint Replacement (hip and knee), Women & Infant Health and Urology. Growing service lines include Executive Health and the only Lung Cancer Center in northern Virginia. Virginia Hospital Center is a teaching hospital, long-associated with Georgetown University's School of Medicine, and accredited by The Joint Commission and Licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health.  For additional information, please visit 

SOURCE Virginia Hospital Center
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