In addition to chemotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery, radiotherapy is one of the most important methods for the treatment of tumours. It involves the use of high-energy forms of electromagnetic radiation and particle beams. On these pages you find an extensive description of all technologies that are used throughout our institute network. Please be aware that some technologies are used only in certain facilities.
Linear accelerators are currently the most commonly used devices. This technology accelerates electrons through electromagnetic fields (over a linear distance of 1 to 2 m). These very high-energy particles are then diverted and changed into photons (pure energy quanta). Both electrons and photons can subsequently be used for radiotherapy.
Radiation with millimetre precision
In addition to the “conventional” linear accelerator which has been in use worldwide for over fifty years and has been continually developed during that time (we use equipment from the company VARIAN), there is now new technology available. The CyberKnife system is also a linear accelerator, however it is much smaller, allowing it to be mounted on a robotic arm like those used in the automotive industry. This technology is capable of administering radiotherapy with millimetre precision from all directions.
Shorter radiation duration
Radiotherapy treatment often takes place over several weeks and involves 30 or more radiation sessions. Tumour regions should be treated with the highest possible dose of radiation while risk organs are optimally protected. The probability of a tumour being successfully sterilised depends on its size and, above all, on the radiation dosage. Side effects are caused by the radiation of healthy tissue. With the CyberKnife, smaller tumours can be treated with larger single doses. This significantly shortens the therapy period; in general to around one week.