Specialized IOeRT Technology Arrives at Avera Cancer Institute for Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research Project
SIOUX FALLS (May 25, 2011) – Specialized equipment for IntraOperative Electron Radiation Therapy (IOeRT) has arrived, and is now in use for groundbreaking breast cancer research at the Avera Cancer Institute. This is the first technology of its kind to be available in the region.
“This is exciting technology which we hope will ultimately give selected breast cancer patients another treatment option. We’re able to deliver the entire scope of treatment in a shorter time frame, and we hope we’ll see the same high outcomes that we’re already experiencing with other treatment regimens,” said Dr. Kirsten Erickson, radiation oncologist with MedXray, Avera Radiation Oncology.
IOeRT delivers a single targeted dose of radiation directly to a tumor site during surgery. While still in the research stages for breast cancer, IOeRT has already become standard treatment for certain types of cancer, such as advanced pelvic and abdominal tumors, sarcoma and colorectal cancers.
Avera McKennan is the first institution in the Midwest to have the Mobetron machine for IOeRT from IntraOp Medical Corporation. The closest facilities with this technology are in Ohio, Phoenix, and San Francisco. “Avera McKennan is home to the 13th machine of this type in the country, yet is the first to have one of IntraOp’s second generation machines, which are smaller, more lightweight and easier to maneuver,” said Dr. Juliann Reiland, surgeon and principal investigator in the study along with Dr. Erickson.
The Avera Cancer Institute is the first U.S. institution to enroll patients in this international research trial, and the fourth institution in the world to enroll patients in the study. “To date, IOeRT has not been used as standard treatment of breast cancer. We’re hoping that our research project will provide one more standard option for selected breast cancer patients,” said Dr. Reiland.
Through the research project, IOeRT will be used to treat women with early stage breast cancer. The treatment involves a lumpectomy, with IOeRT at the same time as surgery. Then women will have three weeks of external beam radiation therapy. “For selected women with early stage breast cancer, IOeRT may be an alternative to mastectomy, or lumpectomy with six to seven weeks radiation,” Dr. Erickson said.
Patients will be carefully selected for the study, Dr. Reiland said. “Because we are conscientious stewards of this new technology we have made a commitment to only use this treatment under protocol in an approved study. Everyone treated will be entered into the database and go through the clinical trial.”
Dr. Erickson said existing treatments for early stage breast cancer, including lumpectomy with external beam radiation or the MammoSite® targeted radiation therapy, are very effective with high outcomes, a low recurrence rate and minor side effects.
In the rural Midwest, IOeRT could save significant drive time, stress and expense to cancer patients, said Dr. Wade Dosch, surgeon and sub-investigator for the IOeRT study. “It is heartbreaking to watch a woman choose to have a mastectomy because she cannot tolerate the time commitment required of radiation therapy after breast conservation. It is hoped that more women – especially women in rural areas – would be able to fit the IOeRT treatment protocol into their schedule, and take advantage of breast-conserving surgery rather than undergoing mastectomy,” Dr. Dosch said.
IOeRT is being offered at Avera thanks to a $2,492,032 grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Results from the research study at the Avera Cancer Institute will eventually be combined with results from other research sites, and internationally published.
Learn more about breast cancer and treatment options at www.AveraBreastCenter.org. Or, call (605) 322-3000.