History of CyberKnife

For more than 30 years, physicians have been using stereotactic radiosurgery to destroy tumors in the brain. While the procedure does not remove a tumor, it can destroy tumor cells or stop growth of active tissue.

In stereotactic radiosurgery, high dose focused radiation beams are fired into a tumor from many angles. With older systems, such as the Gamma Knife, a metal frame is screwed into the patient’s head to immobilize the patient during treatment. Wearing this head frame is uncomfortable and limits the potential application of the Gamma Knife to single treatments, used against lesions within the brain or skull base.

A Frameless Alternative

CyberKnife® offers all of the advantages of radiosurgery, but without the need for a metal head frame. Instead, patients are fitted with a more comfortable flexible mesh mask for tumors in the head, or a body cradle for spinal tumors or other tumors outside the head. Because the robotic arm automatically corrects for patient movement during treatment, the CyberKnife® can be used anywhere in the body where radiation is effective.

CyberKnife® was developed by a team of physicians, physicists and engineers at Stanford University. The CyberKnife® technology was cleared by the FDA for intercranial applications in August 1999, and received full-body clearance in August, 2001. It has been used to treat more than 20,000 patients worldwide.