MADRID, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In 1993, Hospital Ruber Internacional became the world's 43rd Leksell Gamma Knife® center, treating its first patient – a 60-year-old female patient with a frontal meningioma – on August 23 of that year. Both the patient and the hospital's Radiosurgery and Functional Neurosurgery Unit are still going strong today. Operating Spain's only Gamma Knife system, the hospital has delivered radiosurgery to over 6,000 patients with a wide range of tumors and functional and vascular brain disorders.
Hospital Ruber Internacional will host the European Society of Leksell Gamma Knife at its annual congress, November 22-24.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a gentler alternative to traditional brain surgery for illnesses such as metastatic disease, which is cancer that has traveled to the brain from elsewhere in the body. With pinpoint accuracy, the system delivers up to thousands of low-intensity radiation beams to one or more targets in a single session. The latest Gamma Knife technology, Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ provides even greater speed and ease of use than previous models.
On the first day of the congress, Hospital Ruber Internacional will convene a symposium for members of the Society and referring physicians in Spain on the hospital's two decades of Gamma Knife experience.
As a pioneer of Gamma Knife radiosurgery, Hospital Ruber Internacional has operated successive versions of the system.
"We started with Gamma Knife B and switched to Gamma Knife C in 2000, then upgraded that system with the APS™ [Automatic Positioning System] in 2001," says Roberto Martinez, MD, Ruber neurosurgeon and Director of the Radiosurgery and Functional Neurosurgery Unit. "We acquired the Perfexion system in 2007, becoming the sixth Perfexion installed in Europe."
Perfexion is an ideal system to treat metastases – particularly for patients with multiple lesions, as the system's advanced collimator facilitates rapid isocenter changes. At Hospital Ruber Internacional, 80 percent of mets patients have more than one lesion, Dr. Martinez notes.
"The mean number of mets nowadays is four mets per patient," he says. "Referred patients will come to us with a diagnosis of one to two mets. However, we will perform an MRI with a double dose of contrast for mets patients, and we have found that in 70 percent of these cases, the number of mets is actually larger."
Patients with metastases represent about 20 percent of Ruber's Gamma Knife radiosurgery volume. Meningiomas and other benign tumors make up 40 percent, while 25 percent of radiosurgery cases are for vascular malformations. Although functional disorders, such as trigeminal neuralgia amount to just eight percent of Ruber's Gamma Knife cases now, they are a growing indication.
"Since 1998, we have treated 500 functional cases, mostly trigeminal neuralgia, but the trend is for more of these cases. We hope that in the near future that up to 12 percent of our indications are for functional disorders," Dr. Martinez says.
Installed in 48 countries, more than 300 Gamma Knife systems are currently in clinical use, with more than 700,000 patients treated worldwide.
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Elekta is a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. The company develops sophisticated, state-of-the-art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy, radiosurgery and brachytherapy, as well as workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care. Stretching the boundaries of science and technology, providing intelligent and resource-efficient solutions that offer confidence to both healthcare providers and patients, Elekta aims to improve, prolong and even save patient lives.
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