Carolinas HealthCare System
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Levine Cancer Institute Team Performs Novel Prostate Cancer Treatment - Archived
Dr. Michael Haake

The Carolinas HealthCare System Levine Cancer Institute’s radiation oncology team, led by Michael Haake, MD, was the first in the world to use new technology for advanced high-dose rate (HDR), ultrasound-guided brachytherapy treatment for prostate cancer that drastically reduces recovery time and enables patients to walk out of the hospital just hours after receiving treatment.

HDR brachytherapy involves delivering radiotherapy from inside the body by temporarily placing a tiny radioactive source directly into the tumor or other targeted area. Using a robotic device called an afterloader, physicians place the radioactive source into position through needles that have been inserted into the area being treated. The source is then moved within the needles under computer control to create the specified dose distribution within the patient's anatomy.

Plans for this type of treatment can be created in a real-time environment, using ultrasound images generated in the operating room rather than CT scans generated post-operatively elsewhere. This avoids the need to move the patient to a CT scanner for imaging after the needles have been put in place.

"From a practical point of view, this type of technology enables us to monitor the location of the implant needle tips better in real time, which then allows us to actually leave the procedure room with a great treatment plan," Dr. Haake said. "The real time planning allows us to edit the plan during treatment, which would be much difficult and time consuming using our previous planning system."