Elekta celebrates 50 years of Leksell Gamma Knife

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | February 02, 2018
Rad Oncology Radiation Therapy
Leksell Gamma Knife Icon
Last weekend, Elekta commemorated 50 years since the first treatment ever administered with the Leksell Gamma Knife.

Used for the first time on January 27, 1968 to treat a case of pituitary adenoma in a clinical setting at Sophiahemmet Hospital in Stockholm, the stereotactic radiosurgery tool has gone on to provide therapy to 1.1 million patients worldwide, with 330 units distributed throughout 54 countries, to treat a combined 80,000 new patients annually.

“Elekta’s Gamma Knife is the gold standard system designed specifically to treat the brain, allowing neurosurgeons to precisely deliver planned radiation doses efficiently and simply,” Lena Hoglund, head of global Marketing for Elekta’s Neuroscience Portfolio, told HCB News. “The current generation of the system, Leksell Gamma Knife Icon (Icon), shows the highest localization accuracy, compared with linear accelerator (linac)-based delivery, and is designed to provide superior dose distribution. Icon has an average radiological accuracy of 0.15 mm and total clinical accuracy of 0.48mm.”

Leksell Gamma Knife is an alternative to conventional brain surgery and whole brain radiation therapy that treats metastatic disease by administering up to thousands of low-intensity radiation beams to one or more targets in single or multiple sessions.

Traditional conditions treated with the Gamma Knife include benign tumors, such as meningiomas and pituitary adenomas; malignant tumors such as gliomas and metastases; vascular disorders including arteriovenous malformations; and functional disorders, such as trigeminal neuralgia.

The solution was devised by Prof. Lars Leksell, the founder of Elekta, with the first system introduced to the U.S. in 1987 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Since its creation, the system has experienced five more evolutions over the past 50 years with its sixth generation, Leksell Gamma Knife Icon spreading to many countries and regions since its release, including Japan, Canada and Texas.

Hoglund says that enhanced interoperability and workflows will continue to accelerate the progress of Gamma Knife’s treatment.

“Increased interoperability and automated workflows with decision support will, in the future, enable even more efficient intracranial stereotactic radiosurgery treatments with Icon, allowing the clinician to focus his or her expertise on the patient and the clinical decision,” she said.

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