Battling Cancer with the Most Powerful Technology Available

At the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC), there is a new weapon in the fight against cancer. The Trilogy™ stereotactic system—the most advanced and versatile radiation therapy available—has just been added to the arsenal of minimally invasive therapies, significantly increasing the treatment options available for patients.

As the first cancer center in the Mid-Atlantic to offer Trilogy, UMGCCC is able to target many tumors where radiation therapy was not previously considered an option or where radiation therapy was less effective. For example, patients diagnosed with metastatic disease to the lung, liver, or brain may now be successfully treated with the Trilogy system. In addition, by using Trilogy, both treatment times and side effects are reduced.

“Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will be treated with radiation. Trilogy is the newest and latest advancement in radiation treatment technology. Trilogy gives us more versatility by bringing together the individual strengths of previous generation radiation treatment technology such as Novalis, Cyberknife, and TomoTherapy into one machine,” explains William F. Regine, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

He adds, “We are no longer bound by limitations inherent in other machines and can choose the best treatment for each patient, whether the cancer is in the chest, abdomen/pelvis, or head or neck. Patients who chose to come to UMGCCC have the benefit of having all the latest radiation therapy options available to them in one place.”

An integral component of any radiation treatment team is the medical physicists. “The difference at UMGCCC is the size, strength and reputation of our physics group,” explains Cedric Yu, ScD, professor of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We assist the physicians in using our technology to the very limits of its capability, which maximizes the options available for patients. At the same time, our research activities are defining the future of radiation technology with a focus on developing new approaches to deliver even higher doses of radiation more safely and efficiently.”

Trilogy’s technology is so advanced that it can be used to deliver all forms of external-beam radiation therapy, whether it be 3-Dimensional Radiation Therapy, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy or Stereotactic Radiosurgery. At the core of the Trilogy system is a high-powered medical linear accelerator that rotates around the patient to deliver radiation treatments from any angle. The accelerator’s beam is more focused compared with conventional machines—making dose delivery more precise—and it can deliver doses more than 60 percent faster.

The hallmark of the Trilogy system is its Image Guided Technology, which allows physicians to scan patients right before each treatment to verify the location of the tumor. This offers several major benefits for patients. First, doctors are able to more precisely define the tumor area to be targeted for treatment, which spares even more normal tissue. Second, doctors can provide even higher doses of radiation, which is more effective in treating the tumor. Third, because of the Image Guided Technology, Trilogy accounts for respiratory motion and other anatomic variables, allowing patients to breathe normally during treatment. Collectively, Trilogy with Image Guided Technology offers unparalleled advantages in terms of treatment effectiveness and patient comfort.