UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Patients Benefit from New, Advanced Radiotherapy Treatment System

January 4, 2019 UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is among the first cancer centers in the nation to treat patients with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), the most advanced high-quality radiotherapy system now available. The new Halcyon™ system from Varian has significantly decreased patient treatment time and delivers the treatment with pinpoint accuracy and precision through image-guided radiotherapy.
 
From a patient perspective, the new system is designed to be faster and more comfortable. It has significantly reduced the time it takes for single radiation therapy treatments by an estimated 30 percent. The system also can be used to deliver other therapies, including RapidArc and intensity-modulated radiation-therapy.
 
“Shorter treatments can result in more precise treatments because there’s less time for the patient to move or the tumor to shift as was possible during previously longer treatment times,” said Dwight E. Heron, MD, MBA, FACRO, FACR, director of radiation oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Equally important, the system allows us to more precisely target the tumors with a maximum dose of radiotherapy while minimizing any radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues and organs.” 
 
UPMC was one of the first adopters of the new system when it was introduced a year ago and had positive results for treatment of patients with head and neck cancers. Now, it has been expanded to treat lung cancer and soon it will be used as treatment for prostate, spine and cancers of the pelvic region.
 
“Halcyon brings new innovation to the clinic and we quickly realized it would become the new standard for linear accelerator-based treatment,” said M. Saiful Huq, PhD, director of medical physics, Department of Radiation Oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “The unique combination of automation, integrated imaging and technology have simplified clinical workflow while also improving the quality of patient care significantly.” 
 
In addition to UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, patients receiving SBRT will have access to the Halcyon system at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital