Novel Radiotherapy Technology Shows “Great Advantage” in Brain Cancer

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ZAP-X may provide submillimeter accuracy when administering radiation to patients with brain tumors.

Using ZAP-X to treat patients with brain tumors is “better in many ways” in terms of timing patient convenience and accuracy compared with traditional forms of radiotherapy, according to Timothy Chen, MD.

In a conversation with CancerNetwork®, Chen, a board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of the Central Nervous System Program at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and the director of Proton Therapy in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Hackensack Meridian Health, spoke about his use of ZAP-X, a novel stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) modality, and how it builds upon prior techniques in this treatment setting.

Chen highlighted how the use of ZAP-X may reduce the duration of treatment for patients while avoiding the financial costs of alternative methods such as Gamma Knife. Additionally, the novel form of SRS may offer submillimeter precision while administering radiation to patients, allowing practices to potentially spare normal tissue in the process.

Transcript:

[ZAP-X] is better in many ways. For example, traditionally, when we use radiosurgery to treat brain tumors or spinal tumors, it could take 3 to 4 weeks with consultation, simulation, MRI, and treatment planning. That’s the first addition: it is a combination that adds MRI to the radiation platform. We can literally treat patients within 3 days. We are working on arrangement to get [patients] treated in 1 day. That means that patients can even travel to us, which is what we are seeing now, and in 2 or 3 hours, they can get treatment and go home. That’s the first timing issue. Those timing issues also help us come into next-generation research such as the blood–brain barrier or those in high-end research. Because the timing is much shorter [with ZAP-X], we can be very creative and can explore the territory.

The second thing about ZAP-X is that it is [like] a combination of Gamma Knife and CyberKnife treatment. It boasts a very unique and designated SRS machine platform. A problem with Gamma Knife, for example, is a kind of inconvenience. Either you must screw the pin to a patient’s hat, or you must use a very tight mask, so the patient is uncomfortable. Also, it uses a real-life cobalt source; that cobalt source is very dangerous in terms of security because it must be tightened securely for the light source. It is also very expensive.

With that, we have switched to the CyberKnife, which doesn’t need any of those [elements]. But CyberKnife is not as accurate. ZAP-X has come in as a “golden child” of both. It is very convenient and very precise. The patient is laid down comfortably, and with the machine we can narrow it down to submillimeter accuracy. That gives us a great advantage. Because of that, we can pack in a very big dose of radiation to the target while still sparing the normal tissue. We anticipate that outcomes [with ZAP-X] will be great.

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