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Fox Chase Cancer Center Adds CT-on-Rails to Radiation Therapy Arsenal

PHILADELPHIA (October 7, 2002)--Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia has unveiled its CT-on-Rails, a tool that allows physicians to target a patient's tumor more precisely just moments before radiation therapy is delivered.

"Many studies show that by increasing the level of radiation during treatment, the cure rate is increased," said Alan Pollack, M.D., Ph. D. "A critical factor in delivering high-dose therapy is pinpointing the tumor at the time of treatment. At the same time, we must identify the surrounding organs to avoid irradiating them, thus reducing side-effects. The CT-on-Rails allows us to do that in an accurate and noninvasive way."

While the use of CT (computerized tomography) scans is not new in radiation treatment planning, the pairing of CT with radiation treatment delivery is novel. The CT is in the same room as the linear accelerator and the patient may be imaged and treated in exactly the same position. If the target organ has shifted, the CT will identify and correct for the shift so that the target is re-centered for treatment.

This level of accuracy has been accomplished for prostate cancer using an ultrasound device designed to correct for changes in prostate position on a daily basis. The CT-on-Rails will allow the same principle to be applied to other cancer treatment sites. Fox Chase radiation oncologists are currently studying the use of this technology in the treatment of prostate, lung and gastrointestinal cancer.

"With prostate cancer, for example, we want to avoid treating the bladder and the rectum to reduce side effects, such as incontinence and bleeding, while maintaining a high dose of radiation," Pollack added. "CT-on-rails offers the potential of improved cancer treatment outcomes with fewer side effects by facilitating the safe delivery of higher radiation doses."

CT-on-Rails was purchased from the Siemens Oncology Care Systems Group, headquartered in Concord, Calif. The Group develops and markets a range of radiation therapy and electronic information products as solutions for the worldwide oncology market. The web site address is The company is part of Siemens Medical Engineering Group, Erlangen, Germany, one of the largest suppliers of health-care services in the world.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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