The Department of Radiation Oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine was the first treatment site in the nation that have the capability to perform stereotactic conformal radiotherapy in the chest and abdomen. The concept of extremely precise radiation delivery as popularized in radiosurgery treatments to the brain can also be used to treat certain lesions in the chest and abdomen. The Stereotatic Body Frame was purchased in conjunction with the Gamma Knife equipment and was commissioned in 1997.
Stereotactic conformal radiotherapy using the stereotactic body frame allows dose escalation with minimal exposure to surrounding normal tissues. The stereotactic body frame allows for precise and reproducible localization of tumors located in the chest, abdomen, or pelvic regions. With this technology, treatment typically requiring weeks to months to perform with conventional radiation therapy, can be performed in three treatments. The stereotactic body frame is coupled to an extremely sophisticated 3D conformal treatment planning system that exploits the localization characteristics of the frame itself. Specific uses for the stereotactic body frame in treatment of malignant lesions outside the brain continue to expand. Physicians in the Department launched studies in February 2000, in which the body frame was being used to treat early stage lung cancer in patients who could not tolerate traditional surgery. With stereotactic radiotherapy, only three treatments are administered during a ten day course, rather than the more conventional radiation therapy that requires more than thirty treatments within five to seven weeks.
The stereotactic body frame will enable certain cancer patients who can not undergo surgery, a viable treatment alternative.