Super Accurate Radiation Robots Kill Cancer Cells and Leave Healthy Ones Untouched (w/ Video)

May 25, 2010 by John Messina weblog
Varian's TrueBeam is the latest automated radiation system that can kill tumors with sniper-like precision. Credit: Varian Medical Systems

( -- Traditional radiation therapy has been used for years to kill cancer cells. The disadvantage of using this method is that healthy cells are also destroyed along with the cancer cells. In the past ten years radiation blasting robotic systems have been introduced that can target and fire with millimeter precision.

These new super-accurate radiation-blasting robotic systems have been used in a wide range of cancer treatment and have proven their effectiveness in killing cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells untouched.

Accuray and have been the two big names for years in providing state-of-the-art . Now a med-tech giant Varian has just released their automated radiation-blasting system called TrueBeam. This system provides more accurate targeting of cancer cells than the other two.

Each of these systems work slightly different but they all kill cancer cells in tumors using high energy radiation. The new generation of radiation robots is lowering the rate of dead healthy cells by more accurately targeting the .

The three videos below will demonstrate how each system operates:

Accuray’s automated radiation machine, ‘Cyberknife’, pivots and tilts around you to find the best access point to irradiate the tumor with millimeter accuracy.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

TomoTherpy uses a shuttering system on their machine to achieve similar accuracy as Accuray.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The latest edition, Varian’s TrueBeam system works in conjunction with their RapidArc software to provide dynamic adjustments with only a 10 ms delay.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

In each system doctors program the desired target area in the body and the machine will pivot and adjust itself to hit the tumor on its own. Each machine can treat a wide variety of cancers ranging from brain to .

Explore further: Facts About Prostate Cancer and Its Treatment

More information: Varian, Accuray, TomoTherapy

Related Stories

Facts About Prostate Cancer and Its Treatment

October 25, 2006

In 2006, about 235,000 Americans will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most common cancer among males. If caught early, prostate cancer is very treatable and usually curable.

Radiation therapy combo cures prostate cancer long-term

January 4, 2007

Seventy-four percent of men treated with a combination of radiation seed implants and external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer are cured of their disease 15 years following their treatment, according to a study ...

Cell recycling protects tumor cells from anti-cancer therapy

March 6, 2008

Cells have their own recycling system: Discarded cellular components, from individual proteins through to whole cellular organs, are degraded and the building blocks re-used in a different place. The scientific term for this ...

Scientists isolate cancer stem cells

September 11, 2008

After years of working toward this goal, scientists at the OU Cancer Institute have found a way to isolate cancer stem cells in tumors so they can target the cells and kill them, keeping cancer from returning.

UC to Test New Targeted Treatment for Prostate Cancer

April 14, 2010

( -- The American Cancer Society estimates one man in six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, making it the second leading cause of cancer death in men. With a new partnership with Areva Med, University ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (3) May 25, 2010
John Messina,

You went way over your head and you did not even know it.

These are not autonomous robotic systems for treating cancer. They are each, totally under the control of a human medical physicist's programmed sequence of steps(which are patient individualized).. each step composed of a melody of programming notes, each designed in different ways by the 3 manufacturers you've mentioned. The medical physicist is , herself, executing this programming sequence as a translation of the radiation oncologist physician's prescription of pure energy , to be deposited in the cancerous tissue.

There is no room for 'snipers', 'sexy, radiation-blasting advertisements', or factual errors when reporting shallow,advertising quality ideas and images to cancer patients reading, this who deserve a more intelligent reporting about the facts of use of these complex systems in radiation medicine.
3 / 5 (2) May 25, 2010
Lighten up virtualist. This is a robot and it is automated. We program the sequence in a car factory robot and still consider the assembly to be automated. The author never said that the machines will diagnose and cure all without human intervention. interesting article, good job John.
May 25, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
3.7 / 5 (3) May 25, 2010
Regardless- this still represents considerable improvement over the old "breaking eggs to make an omelette" therapy. By no means perfect- but much better.
1 / 5 (1) May 25, 2010
If this machine was all it's hyped up to be then it would mean cancer and all its forms would be cured. I doubt it's quite that promising.
2 / 5 (1) May 25, 2010
It's an advert!
Cancer has to be killed slowly so the body can recycle or dispose of the dead tissue before necrosis sets in.
Cancer has physical mass, it can't be treated as a simple infection you can just zap.
Thats why you have surgery after chemo, to cut out what's left before the patient dies!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.