ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA) -- A new "GPS for the body" system minimizes risk and side effects for prostate cancer patients. The new Calypso system uses small beacons to provide precise and real-time tracking of prostate cancer tumors.
The beacons are tiny electromagnetic seeds and they are placed inside the body. The seeds provide a "road-map" to keep radiation focused directly on the tumor. If the target area moves out of place during treatment, the radiation automatically shuts off until the beacons are back in place.
Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington is one of the first hospitals on the east coast to offer this new technology.
Robert Hong, M.D., Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Hospital Center says, "By tracking the tumor bed, we're able to limit exposure to the normal tissues, and in turn, escalate the dose to the areas that are at highest risk of harboring cancer itself."
Those tiny beacons are placed in an outpatient procedure. They don't have to be taken out after radiation is finished.
They simply "turn-off", or become inactive.