By Jean Haggerty
ZAP Surgical has started using its gyroscopic radiosurgery platform, ZAP-X, to deliver high-dose stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to treat brain tumor patients at Barrow Brain and Spine in Phoenix, and clinical trials of the ZAP-X platform will begin in Beijing in June.
“There are almost two million potential patients [worldwide], but only 150,000 currently receive treatment. That’s because some of the most expensive equipment out there today is radiosurgery equipment,” Dr. John Adler, founder and CEO of ZAP Surgical Systems and a professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University, told HCB News.
The key difference between the ZAP-X platform, which received FDA clearance in September 2017, and existing SRS solutions for brain tumor treatment is that the ZAP-X platform uses self-shielding technology. By using the technology, the ZAP-X does not need a cement radiation vault to protect its operator when it is in use. A radiation vault alone can cost between one and two million dollars. The ZAP-X platform, meanwhile, costs USD $1.8 million in the U.S.
SRS is seen as an effective alternative to invasive surgery because it is a precise way to administer high-dose radiation to a cancerous brain tumor, while protecting normal brain tissue and other organs in the head, like the eyes.
To deliver the radiation necessary for SRS, the ZAP-X platform uses a modern linear accelerator; this means that, by design, the ZAP-X platform obviates the historical use of Cobalt-60, a radioactive isolate that carries with it a slew of handling costs and challenges.
“It’s like a shaper knife,” Dr. Adler said, noting that the ZAP-X platform is more precise, from more directions, than existing SRS technology. The ZAP-X is also safer because it lets operators record the radiation as it is being administered, he added.
“After almost a decade of effort, we’re incredibly proud of what the ZAP-X can mean to cancer patients,” Dr. Adler said. Going forward, ZAP Surgical will explore whether the ZAP platform’s noninvasive therapy can have a role in treating certain intracranial conditions and psychiatric diseases.
Barrow Brain and Spine in Arizona treats more brain tumors than any other institution in the U.S.