Radiation Therapy and Hematologic Cancers

Overview

Radiation therapy is a vital component in the treatment of blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, particularly for cases requiring a stem cell transplant, since radiation and/or chemotherapy is required to destroy the abnormal cancer cells prior to the transplant procedure.

 

Tomotherapy total marrow irradiation

 

In June 2005, City of Hope performed the first total marrow irradiation procedure in the world using TomoTherapy. Since then, the total marrow irradiation program has been expanded and has become available in a number of clinical trials.

Traditionally, radiation oncologists have treated blood and bone marrow cancers with total body irradiation. During this process, it is difficult to keep radiation from damaging organs. TomoTherapy technology, with its tiny radiation beamlets, targets tumors more precisely. City of Hope can now deliver radiation to the entire marrow compartment where the cancer cells reside, in a precisely focused manner. This total marrow irradiation (shown on the right) potentially improves treatment while reducing recovery time and side effects.

City of Hope is also investigating the use of radioimmunotherapy to treat blood cancers. This treatment attaches radioactive material to genetically-engineer molecules that specifically hones in on cancer cells. Once injected, these cells gravitate towards cancer cells throughout the body, which are then killed off by the attached radioactive particle.

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