NKCH Uses GPS-like Technology to Treat Liver Cancer

North Kansas City Hospital uses cutting-edge technology to treat liver cancer. The treatment integrates stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) with the Calypso 4-D Localization System. Referred to as “GPS for the body,” Calypso pinpoints a tumor’s exact location, allowing real-time tracking during treatment. The technology allows radiation to be more precisely delivered to the tumor, resulting in up to a 90% local control rate, a 2% incidence of severe toxicity and limited radiation exposure to surrounding tissues and organs. NKCH offers the treatment on its campus through its partnership with The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

The ideal candidate for treatment with the Calypso technology is a patient with early-stage liver cancer who has three or fewer lesions measuring 5 cm or less each. Early treatment increases the likelihood of completely ablating the targeted tumor.

Natural organ and tumor motion are major obstacles to precise radiation delivery. With the Calypso technology, beacons implanted in or around the tumor communicate with an electromagnetic array positioned over the patient. During treatment, the tumor’s position is tracked in real-time. The tumor is only treated when it is within the designated treatment field.

Mark Thompson, MD, a radiation oncologist with The University of Kansas Cancer Center, (KUCC) recently treated the first liver cancer patient in the Northland on the NKCH campus.

Liver Cancer

“Just a few years ago, treating tumors with the high dosage of radiation needed to ablate the cancer cells would not have been safe because of the larger treatment field required,” explains Dr. Thompson. “The critical organs adjacent to the liver would have been negatively impacted. Now, we can localize the tumor and ablate the targeted cancer cells with minimal radiation exposure to surrounding organs, minimal side effects, better outcomes and more treatment options.”

Joycelin Canavan, MD, radiation oncologist with KUCC, practices exclusively on the NKCH campus as part of the hospital’s partnership with KUCC.

The Calypso technology is currently FDA-approved in the United States for treating prostate and liver cancer but future indications may include lung and breast cancers.

Mark Thompson, MD

Mark Thompson, MDDr. Thompson received his medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He completed a radiation oncology residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center His professional interests include Prostatic Brachytherapy.