KARACHI: The advanced Robotic Radio Surgery – CyberKnife Unit at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC)- Karachi, has enabled the doctors to quickly treat and cure patients suffering from early stages of Cancer. This was stated by the Project Director – Prof Tariq Mehmood.
Prof Tariq is also the Head of Radiology Department, JPMC said that the terms ‘cyber’ and ‘knife’ reflect that this treatment is a computerised surgery using robotics technology which can cure early stages of brain, head & neck, spine, prostate, lungs cancers etc. within one to five radio surgery sessions, lasting two-hours per session. It can also be used for curative treatment against many non-cancerous conditions like trigeminal neuralgia, arteriovenous malformations, and functional disorders.
Cyberknife treatment is the cutting-edge technology, which provides precise, painless and non-invasive treatment (no injections/anesthesia is require). He said it is a day-care procedure, without any significant side-effects. The patient can go back to work, on the very next day of the surgery. This system was brought to Pakistan for the first time in December 2012, and has been treating up to four to six patients per day at JPMC’s CyberKnife unit.
The Patients Aid Foundation (PAF) had arranged Pakistan’s first whole body Robotic Radio-surgery Cyberknife at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, through donations worth USD 4.1 million (approximately Rs 400 millions). Renowned social worker and philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi also contributed generously to make this project possible.
Prof Tariq further informed that 250 Cyberknife are installed around the world. The per-patient cost of treatment in Europe/USA varies from USD 50,000 to 90,000. PAF-JPMC is the world’s first NGO offering free Cyberknife treatment irrespective of nationality, religion, and ethnicity. He said patients are coming to JPMC for treatment from all over the country and also abroad, including: Bahrian, Abu-Dhabi, Sharjah, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Russia and Afghanistan.
He said; In the last 10 months we have completed more than 627 sessions of radio-surgery and successfully treated cases of brain, head, neck and spinal tumors including; acoustic neuromas, arteriovenous, malformations, pituitary adenomas, meningiomas, schawanomas, galiomas, neurofibromas, astrocytomas, GBM, brain metastasis, giant cell tumor, chordoma, nerve sheath tumor, haemangioblastoma, post surgical chondrosarcoma, glomus jugulare etc.
The case of each patient opting for CyberKnife treatment, is discussed by a radiologist, radiation-oncologist, physicist and radiation therapist. Early stage tumors, up to 3.0 cm are treated within a single session and larger sized (more than 3.0 cm) tumors require additional sessions, e.g. A 7.0 cm tumor may require five sessions. The treatment duration is approximately 02 hours per session and USD 1000 is the cost per session.
He said that with the help of ongoing donations, about 1,000 patients can be treated every year. He said this has all been made possible by the generous charity of PAF’s private donors. The project needs donations worth $1 million every year to cover the cost of equipments and staff. To run this Cyberknife unit successfully, the institution needs commitments for 1,000 sessions from individuals, philanthropists, corporate sector and NGOs, who are helping us in providing free cancer treatment for the deprived patients.