Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s New Varian Edge Provides Advanced Cancer Therapy


Kelsey-Seybold now has a cutting-edge radiosurgery machine, the first of its kind in Houston, and a powerful new tool to treat hard-to-reach tumors. It’s the new Varian EDGE, sister to our Varian TrueBeam, but with enhanced capabilities to perform surgery without ever piercing the skin. The main difference between the TrueBeam and the Varian EGDE is that the Varian EDGE will allow us to do intracranial radio surgery. The EDGE will also let us treat the full spectrum of cancer patients, however it specializes in radiosurgery so we’ll be able to work closely with the neurosurgeons to treat brain lesions either benign or cancerous lesions. In addition to brain tumors, the EDGE can treat a wide range of other cancers such as those of the lung, spine, liver, prostate and pancreas. Both the EDGE and the TrueBeam feature a non-invasive, high-intensity knife-like beam that accurately targets and destroys tumors. Physicians can more precisely target where they want the radiation to go to reduce radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. So we’re looking at submillimeter accuracy, basically having more accuracy than the tip of a pencil, and this is mainly due to image-guided radiation therapy allowing us to know the location and the exact position of the tumor before we turn on the radiation beam. I always use the analogy of going to the theater where the main actor has a hundred lights of beams on the body and you can seem nice and bright, but the tree off to the side is bright enough so you can see it, but not as bright as the main actor so we considered the main actor the tumor, and the tree similar to an organ at risk around that tumor. With the EDGE’s real-time motion management technology, the patient’s position on the treatment couch is check every 10 milliseconds, and the beam is automatically turned off if the patient moves, ensuring patient safety during treatment. Physicians are able to treat much smaller targets, such as small brain metastases and small brain benign tumors like an acoustic neuroma, for example. At Kelsey-Seybold, patients now don’t have to travel somewhere else for care, because of this state-of-the-art technology. With the EDGE and TrueBeam, patients are able to see their care team and received the treatment they need all at the same location. Outside the advanced technology that we have here at Kelsey, we really have coordinated care amongst the medical oncologists and radiation oncologist and surgeon, pathologists and radiologists, having cancer care under one roof, having infusion right above us, we’re able to coordinate patients’ chemotherapy and radiation as more than fifty percent of cancer patients will need radiation sometime during their treatment course. Some other advantages are free valet parking allowing easy access for patients to come in and out for daily treatment. The Varian EDGE has the highest dose rate in the industry for faster treatments, with each non-invasive procedure generally lasting only minutes. Thus patients are usually able to quickly resume daily activities. With both the EDGE and TrueBeam, the Kelsey-Seybold Cancer Center has taken a giant step in offering our patients the latest in cancer care.

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