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Calypso Prostate Cancer Targeting

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Posted 10/13/2014

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The Calypso targeting system provides a new level of precision in the treatment of prostate cancer. Working like GPS for the prostate, the Calypso system uses three tiny beacons placed in the prostate gland to triangulate and guide the radiation system to hit only the prostate with cancer-killing radiation and sparing the surrounding healthy areas.

The Nebraska Medical Center was one of just five American hospitals that took part in the original clinical trials for Calypso.

"I am extremely excited to be able to offer men radiation therapy using Calypso. Out of all the radiation targeting therapies used to treat cancer today, the Calypso system is the most advanced and the most accurate," said Charles Enke, M.D., radiation oncologist at The Nebraska Medical Center and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Enke said Calypso is also the only system that doesn't require human interpretation to pinpoint the tumor target. Instead, tiny electromagnetic sensors about the size of a grain of rice are implanted in the patient's prostate before treatment. Then, during the entire treatment, the sensors continuously transmit information back to Calypso, 10 times per second, regarding the position and motion of the prostate.

"We knew the prostate moved during radiation treatment, but we were surprised to learn from the pre-FDA approval study just how much, and how often it moves," Dr. Enke said.

To account for that motion, physicians traditionally use larger margins around the treatment borders, but that means more radiation exposure to healthy tissue, which can cause unpleasant side effects. Calypso's ability to target the tumor more accurately during treatment translates into fewer side effects.

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