treatment can be completed in 3-5 days”
—Dr John R Adler,
president, CyberKnife Society
Dr John R Adler, is the
inventor of CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System. He has been a
member of the faculty at Stanford University and a professor of
neurosurgery and radiation oncology at Stanford University School of
Medicine since September 1998. He is also the president of CyberKnife
Society. Dr Adler started the company Accuray to commercialize his
scientific development. Though Accuray manufactures the CyberKnife
System the patent for this technology was sold to Stanford University
in 1994. CyberKnife is the first and the only non-invasive radiosurgery
system available globally. In India, HCG offers CyberKnife whole body
robotic radiosurgery therapy .
Will you tell us
about the CyberKnife technology and its applications?
The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive
alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and
non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including prostate, lung,
brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney. The treatment delivers beams
of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy. CyberKnife is
offering a new hope to patients worldwide as the treatment is devoid of
any surgery. In fact, the CyberKnife system is the world’s
first and the only robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat tumors
throughout the body noninvasively.
The technology offers new hope to patients who have inoperable or
surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for an alternative to
surgery for cure many small tumors and a few other medical disorders.
Unlike other radiosurgery systems, which are primarily used for the
treatment of head cancers, CyberKnife can deliver radiosurgery to any
part of the body.
The system also gives some added benefits to patients, including pain
free treatment, no anesthesia, less recovery time and lower risk of
radiation damage to normal tissues.
technology purely based on radiation therapy for treating tumors?
Yes. In this kind of treatment the patient is imaged using a
high-resolution CT scan to determine the size, shape and location of
the tumor. Following scanning, the image data is digitally transferred
to the workstation of CyberKnife system, where the treatment planning
begins. A qualified doctor then uses the CyberKnife software to
generate a treatment plan. The plan is used to match the desired
radiation dose to the identified tumor location while limiting
radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue. Then the
CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will slowly
move around the patient to the various locations from which it will
deliver radiation to the tumor.
What are the
advantages of CyberKnife over conventional radiotherapy?
Conventional radiation therapy administers a broad beam of radiation
from one or two directions in 30 to 45 treatments. It delivers low dose
beams of radiation over a period of 6-8 weeks. Whereas CyberKnife
radiosurgery delivers high dose beams of radiation, which can be more
effective in killing tumors anywhere in the body. This system can
deliver radiation beams from virtually unlimited directions with
sub-millimetre accuracy. Radiosurgery minimizes the damage to the
surrounding tissues and therefore the treatment can be completed in 3-5
What is the time
taken for the treatment using CyberKnife?
Each treatment session lasts between 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the
type of tumor being treated. If treatment is being delivered in stages,
patients will need to return for additional treatments over several
days (typically not more than five days), as determined by the doctor.
What about the side
It has no side effects. In a few cases, patients may experience some
minimal side effects, but those often go away within a week or two
How do you plan to
expand the use of this technology globally?
CyberKnife has been there since 1994. The current one is the fourth
generation technology. To date, more than 50,000 patients have been
treated and more than 155 systems are installed worldwide. We have been
waiting for the improvements to come and now we are happy to introduce
the same machine here in India. Introducing CyberKnife treatment in
India for the first time is a huge milestone in achieving broader
access to the benefits of radiosurgery. Technology drives up the cost
of healthcare. But CyberKnife when properly used is less expensive than
all other technologies. With early detection, it is capable of curing
100 percent of cancer.
- Approved by USFDA in 2001 to treat tumors and lesions
anywhere in the body when radiation treatment is required.
- Over 155 CyberKnife systems currently operating in
- Over 50,000 patients have been treated successfully.
- Currently more than 50 percent of all CyberKnife
procedures in the US are extracranial.