Targeted Prostate Cancer Radiation
The Calypso System
Precise radiation, fewer side effects
In radiation treatment of prostate cancer, the goal is to deliver as much radiation to the affected area as possible, while minimizing radiation to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. After years in development, a breakthrough therapy called the Calypso System has come to the East Bay Area, along with the prospect of unprecedented benefits for prostate cancer patients.
“GPS For the Body” technology
A Contra Costa exclusive
Diablo Valley Oncology & Hematology is the first and only cancer treatment center in Contra Costa County offering Calypso treatments. This new technology is based on scientific principles very similar to that in global positioning satellite (GPS) devices commonly used in automobiles.
How Calypso works
- During radiation treatment, a patient’s organs naturally move, and a doctor or radiation technician cannot predict which way or how much they move. As a result, other nearby organs and healthy tissue may receive radiation inadvertently.
- To accommodate this movement, a doctor using Calypso begins by implanting three tiny devices in the prostate. This is an outpatient procedure, similar to a biopsy, performed prior to radiation.
- These devices, each about the size of a grain of rice, are tracking devices called beacon transponders.
- Then, during radiation, the beacon transponders communicate with the Calypso System constantly. The transponders allow the Calypso System to track the precise location of the prostate tumor at all times. Subsequently, the tracking permits the precise focusing of safe radio-frequency waves on the tumor.
- The Calypso System allows the radiation oncologist overseeing the treatment to make quick, important decisions about each patient’s care.
Real-time tracking explained
In May 2010, a clinical study published in the medical journal Urology demonstrated that prostate cancer patients treated with radiation and monitored with the Calypso System reported significantly reduced side effects such as urinary/bowel irritation and erectile dysfunction, compared to those whose radiation was not complemented by Calypso.
Currently the Calypso System is cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in radiation therapy for prostate treatment. The technology, however, is designed for body-wide applications and studies are underway for other locations in the body.
Commitment to compassion, comfort, convenience
Our radiation oncology team works together to provide the highest level of care for our patients in a warm and relaxing environment. We listen carefully to understand the fears and concerns of our patients and we take as much time as is necessary to provide thorough explanations and address questions through comprehensive education.
We believe that partnering with our patients in the medical decision-making process promotes optimal outcomes. Our positive attitudes infuse our patients with the confidence that they are not alone in their fight against cancer.