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'Cyber knife' carves out new knowledge

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:47 am
by Mary
Apparently, Australia does not have cyber-knife technology here in hospitals. Here's a story of some who have gone to the US for it and the struggle to get a machine here:

'Cyber knife' carves out new knowledge


Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:30 am
by hugsnkisses
Gammaknife is similar but is specifically designed for brain tumours. A gammaknife unit has been purchased by Macquarie University and will be available for use from August next year when the Macquarie University Private Hospital opens. It will be the first of its kind in Australia. See ... tionID=202

Currently Hawaii is the centre for Australian patients wishing to use Gammaknife. See

Gammaknife is more suitable for brain lesions than cyberknife. For a comparison see ... ompare.cfm.
Please also note that gammaknife has been available in the US for 40 years and we are just getting our first one. Several government evaluations re gammaknife purchase have been conducted over the years but it has always been rejected due to guessed it.....COST!!

Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:47 am
by hugsnkisses
PS some oncologists will tell you that stereotactic radiation (which is available here) is the same thing. It is not. Gammaknife and Cyberknife are specialist machines that are not available here...yet. Cyberknife treats all sorts of cancer whilst Gammaknife treats only brain tumours, brain malformations etc and is much more specific in the targeting of the radiation it supplies. Thus it affects much less surrounding healthy tissue than cyberknife. It also uses a head frame to immobilise the patient and aid in specific targeting which cyberknife does not. Gammaknife Hawaii can be contacted direct and will review your MRIs at no cost and let you know of your suitability. Not every case is suitable but they will advise you of this. May be worthwhile if you have run out of options here.


Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:11 am
by Mary
Yes, I've heard people here refer to stereotactic radiotherapy as gammaknife and obviously they think it's the same thing. One of the main problems is long term effects of radiation on other tissues which is a bone of contention and not something radiation oncologists here seem to want to admit to although I've heard from a neurosurgeon that he's had patients who have had it done and all the patient wants to do some several years later is sleep 18 hours a day (not much chop as far as quality of life goes in my books). Also possibility of swelling and damage to nerves etc.

It appears that cyberknife and gammaknife might be different too although it would be good to see a few independent reviews on that (as opposed to one company peddling it's wares and claimed benefits over that of the competition).

The first article mentions $100K for cyberknife in the US (for Aussies travelling to the US for treatment and that was for cancer that had spread to the brain from other parts of the body), the other article indicates gammaknife is less costly than surgery so bearing in mind that it can only be done overseas at the moment all costs must be borne by the patient (no Medicare rebates and most likely ditto for health insurance?? may need to be checked re the latter for anyone who might be interested in pursuing this avenue).

Also there's no indication of success rate (stopping brain tumour growth) by types of tumours and number of years of remission etc.

Certainly while it may be safer (and that's certainly a plus), the other info would be useful too esp if independently conducted evaluations and comparisons.

Good news to hear a gamma knife machine is going to become available and might offer some new hope to existing patients who aren't having much luck with other treatments. Once we have one here I expect there will be a Medicare rebate applied and cover by health insurance companies for those who have it.