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New Keck School tool helps cancer patients

Linear accelerator uses sophisticated imagery

The Varian TrueBeam STx linear accelerator uses sophisticated imaging and respiration synchronization tools to visualize soft tissue during treatment and make changes accordingly. (USC Photo/Ryan Ball)

Keck Medicine of USC has a new weapon in the fight to make cancer a disease of the past.

The Department of Radiation Oncology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC recently received a new Varian TrueBeam STx linear accelerator.

Used to perform external beam radiation treatments for patients who have cancer, linear accelerators deliver high-energy X-rays to the area of a patient’s tumor, destroying cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact. The new tool allows Keck Medicine to offer intensity-modulated radiotherapy, image-guided radiotherapy and stereotactic body radiotherapy.

The system uses sophisticated imaging and respiration synchronization tools to visualize soft tissue during treatment and make changes accordingly. Its high-definition, multileaf collimator narrows the radiation beam with precision and allows physicians to accurately provide larger doses of radiation to smaller places.

Treatment times are much faster. Stereotactic body radiotherapy also will allow some patients, who would normally require a standard course of 30 to 40 radiation therapy treatments, to be treated in five or fewer treatments.

This is the second linear accelerator for the department, which also has a CT simulator, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a CyberKnife and a Gamma Knife.

Since the recruitment of multiple faculty members, radiation oncology at USC has made numerous advancements in clinical, teaching and research arenas.

“Our radiation oncologists are committed to providing patients with state-of-the-art treatments in a compassionate setting,” said John Ferrelli, chief administrative officer of USC Norris Cancer Hospital. “The new linear accelerator will help them in their work to help form the most effective and comprehensive treatment plans for our patients.”

Having the newest linear accelerator available for patients represents the commitment of Keck Medical Center of USC and Norris Cancer Hospital to provide the latest technology available for its treatments.

“USC Norris has long been a destination for patients seeking the most compassionate and innovative cancer care,” said Scott Evans, CEO of USC Norris Cancer Hospital and Keck Hospital of USC. “We are always looking for novel technologies and new opportunities to provide care that is beyond exceptional. With this new technology, we are doing just that — equipping our physicians with a tool that will have tremendous, lasting benefits for our patients.”

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New Keck School tool helps cancer patients

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