How It Works

What is the CyberKnife® System?

The CyberKnife System is a non-invasive treatment for cancerous and non-cancerous tumors and other conditions where radiation therapy is indicated. It is used to treat conditions throughout the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, head and neck, liver, pancreas and kidney, and can be an alternative to surgery or for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors. CyberKnife treatments are typically performed in 1 to 5 sessions. The CyberKnife System has more than two decades of clinical proof and has helped thousands of cancer patients.

True robotic delivery precision

The CyberKnife System is the only radiation delivery system that features a linear accelerator (linac) directly mounted on a robot to deliver the high-energy x-rays or photons used in radiation therapy. The robot moves and bends around the patient, to deliver radiation doses from potentially thousands of unique beam angles, significantly expanding the possible positions to concentrate radiation to the tumor while minimizing dose to surrounding healthy tissue. This robotic delivery and real-time image guidance have set the standard for delivery precision and enable stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) treatments for the full range of tumor types.

Treatment types

Why does precision matter?​

Radiation therapy is a treatment option for many types of tumors throughout the body. Precise and accurate delivery of radiation to the tumor is key to killing cancerous cells while minimizing dose to healthy tissues. Accurate and precise delivery helps minimize irradiation of the healthy tissues surrounding tumors and potentially the risk of side effects, which may lead to better quality of life for the patient both during and after treatment.

Real-time motion synchronization

Why does motion management matter? The patient breathes. The patient could change their position or move their head, even slightly. The patient could cough. Muscles tense and relax. The CyberKnife System is the only device designed to accommodate all forms of patient and tumor motion, even while the treatment is being delivered. With its motion adaptive delivery technology, the CyberKnife System enables smaller treatment margins around the tumor, minimizing the amount of healthy tissue exposed to high-dose radiation.

The CyberKnife System uses advanced technologies to track tumors anywhere in the body, while its unique robotic design keeps the radiation on target even while the tumor moves. Before delivering the radiation beam, the CyberKnife System is the only device that verifies the exact tumor position then adjusts the robot to precisely target the tumor. This helps to ensure radiation is delivered to where the tumor is, not to where it was moments before. Additionally, the CyberKnife System features Synchrony, the world’s only real-time adaptive delivery technology. Synchrony adapts the delivery of the radiation treatment to tumors while they are in motion by synchronizing the treatment delivery beam position to the target location precisely and accurately during the delivery of a treatment fraction. The sophisticated motion synchronization technology eliminates the need to use uncomfortable patient restraints, or ask patients to hold their breath for example.

Why does motion synchronization matter?

Being able to precisely and accurately deliver radiation makes a difference in terms of controlling cancer and reducing the risk of side effects. But tumor or patient movement as a result of normal body functions, including regular breathing, filling of the bladder, or gas in the bowel can shift the tumor by a centimeter or more, which can make it challenging to accurately target the radiation and result in under- or over-dosing of the tumor. Too much radiation may increase the risk of side effects while too little may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. Tracking the tumor’s movement — and synchronizing the delivery of radiation with that movement — helps to maximize treatment effectiveness, while minimizing dose to surrounding tissues, which can help reduce the incidence of side effects.

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Please note: Accuray is the manufacturer of the CyberKnife®, TomoTherapy®, and Radixact® Systems. As the manufacturer, we are unable to provide specific medical advice, view medical records, or schedule appointments.
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Important Safety Statement: Most side effects of radiotherapy, including radiotherapy delivered with Accuray systems, are mild and temporary, often involving fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. Side effects can be severe, however, leading to pain, alterations in normal body functions (for example, urinary or salivary function), deterioration of quality of life, permanent injury and even death. Side effects can occur during or shortly after radiation treatment or in the months and years following radiation. The nature and severity of side effects depend on many factors, including the size and location of the treated tumor, the treatment technique (for example, the radiation dose), the patient’s general medical condition, to name a few. For more details about the side effects of your radiation therapy, and if treatment with an Accuray product is right for you, ask your doctor.