Advanced Technology

St. John and Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute utilize the latest technology in cancer treatment, including CyberKnife, Elekta, TomoTherapy and linear accelerators.

CyberKnife

The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is a revolutionary advancement in non-invasive cancer treatment technology. CyberKnife directs focused radiation to benign and malignant tumors. CyberKnife continually tracks the tumor and adjusts treatment beams to accommodate patient movement, including breathing patterns. Painless treatment is delivered with sub-millimeter accuracy, minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue.

With CyberKnife, hospitalization is typically unnecessary. Patients usually require three to five outpatient treatments, while others require only a single treatment. Treatment times range from 60 to 90 minutes. The CyberKnife machine is currently located at St. John Medical Center. Click here to learn more about the St. John CyberKnife Center.

Elekta

Please check back for more information about the Elekta technology at Oklahoma Cancer Specialists.

TomoTherapy

While conventional radiation therapy equipment delivers a wide beam of radiation from only a few angles, the TomoTherapy Hi-Art treatment system delivers radiation therapy in continuous helical rotations around the patient's body. The system features patented beam-modulating technology that divides a single beam into many smaller, narrow “beamlets.” More angles and more precise modulation result in dose distributions that conform to tumors like never before. TomoTherapy treatments are completely painless.

This intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) changes the shape, size and intensity of the beam to conform to the shape, size and location of the tumor, reducing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and critical structures. TomoTherapy technology allows the radiation therapy staff to obtain computed tomography (CT) images of soft tissue and tumors immediately prior to treatment and make any necessary adjustments, ensuring greater accuracy for high-precision procedures.

Before beginning a TomoTherapy treatment, the oncologist creates a plan using 3-D images from a combination of scanning technologies, such as CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to establish the precise contours of the tumor(s) and surrounding sensitive organs and tissues. The doctor then prescribes how much radiation the tumor should receive, as well as acceptable levels for healthy tissue nearby. TomoTherapy calculates the appropriate position, pattern and intensity of the radiation beams to be delivered, based on the doctor's prescribed dose.

With TomoTherapy, a typical course of radiation therapy involves a daily process, Monday through Friday. The total number of treatments varies by case, with an average of 20. Each treatment includes about five minutes for a CT and another five minutes for the radiation to be delivered. The remaining time is used for patient setup and image registration for proper positioning. The experience is similar to getting a CT scan or X-ray. Patients may hear a clicking noise and hum, which are both normal sounds that the machine makes.

Linear accelerators

St. John and Oklahoma Cancer Specialists have multiple linear accelerator machines, which provide many types of external-beam radiation therapy for certain cancer patients. A linear accelerator, or “LINAC,” uses electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic particles, creating high-energy radiation that may be used to treat cancer. A LINAC delivers a uniform dose of radiation to a tumor, destroying cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissue.

Our LINAC technology, which includes onboard portal imaging and multi-leaf collimation, is most often used in multi-session treatments. Patients often receive external-beam radiation on an outpatient basis five days a week for several weeks. During treatment, the LINAC directs high-energy beams of radiation into the body from many angles. The LINAC is adjusted to deliver the precise dose of radiation prescribed by the oncologist. Lying on a table, the patient may be supported by molds to stay in place and covered with shields to protect other parts of the body. Treatment sessions vary in length.