Emerging Technologies

CARO prides itself on offering patients the latest technology options when it comes to cancer treatments. Two emerging technologies offered at CARO are SpaceOar and Optune.

At Central Alabama Radiation Oncology, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to care for our patients. From individualized and custom treatment plans, to keeping our facilities updated with the latest in cancer treatment and therapy technologies, we offer each of our patients a care plan that is best suited to the individual needs of their diagnoses.

Both SpaceOar and Optune are equipped with advanced computer technology and specialized software, ensuring the best and most successful treatment outcomes.

About SpaceOar Cancer Treatment

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is designed to help reduce the radiation dose delivered to the rectum during radiation treatments for patients with prostate cancer. When treating prostate cancer patients (or any type of cancer patient) with radiation therapy, the goal is to destroy the cancer cells while avoiding unnecessary damage to surrounding, healthy tissue.

When it comes to prostate cancer specifically, this can be complex. The prostate is located next to the rectum and is naturally separated by a small space. Due to the proximity, there is always that risk that prostate radiation therapy can unintentionally cause damage to the rectum, which can lead to issues with healthy and proper bowel function.

SpaceOar Hydrogel involves introducing a spacer to the area that pushes the rectum further away from the prostate, thus increasing the space between the two body parts decreasing the possibility of rectal injury during prostate radiation therapy. By creating this extra space, the radiation dose delivered to the rectum is also further reduced, which can lessen the possibility of unnecessary damage to the rectum during treatment.

How It Works

SpaceOAR Hydrogel consists of mostly water (90 percent) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) that, when combined, form a soft gel material. PEG materials have undergone extensive biocompatibility and safety testing and are used in a broad number of other implants such as surgical sealants used in the eye, brain and spine.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel can be implanted during an outpatient procedure at CARO prior to the start of radiation treatment. It is typically not a lengthy procedure – usually lasting about 30 minutes.

The gel is injected as a liquid through a needle and inserted between a patient’s rectum and the prostate via a local anesthetic that will numb the injection area.

The product stays in place for about three months and is naturally absorbed into the body and removed through urine in about six months.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is clinically shown to minimize urinary, sexual, and bowel side effects, therefore protecting quality of life for prostate cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

About Optune Cancer Treatment

Optune is a wearable (in the form of adhesive patches), portable, FDA-approved treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) — a malignant tumor which might impact the brain or spine — that creates low-intensity, wave-like electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields. Worn externally, these fields have the ability to painlessly interfere with rapid GBM cell division that takes place below the skin. This action slows or stops GBM tumor cells from dividing and can destroy them completely.

At CARO, Optune is intended as a treatment option for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically confirmed GBM. Optune with temozolomide is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed, supratentorial glioblastoma following maximal debulking surgery, and completion of radiation therapy together with concomitant standard of care chemotherapy.

How it Works

A patient, depending on their customized care plan, might receive continuous treatment with Optune to treat their GBM. With a doctor’s sign-off, many patients are free to use Optune while continuing their daily routine(s) at work, while traveling and even during social functions.

If you have newly diagnosed glioblastoma, Optune will likely be used together with chemotherapy (after surgery and radiation with chemotherapy). If you have recurrent glioblastoma, Optune will likely be used alone once treatment options like surgery and radiation have been exhausted.

The CARO Promise

Of course, SpaceOar and Optune are just two fairly new treatment options which are targeted to treat two specific cancer types. Our state-of-the-art facilities offer the highest quality radiation oncology services for a variety of different cases and situations. We aim to make all patient experiences as comfortable as possible.

After a patient’s full consultation with one of our Board Certified Radiation Oncologists, a custom treatment plan is designed that best suites the patient’s needs. At CARO, we keep our offices equipped with the latest technology, resulting in the best possible likelihood for a quick, safe and successful cancer treatment. Learn more about our state-of-the-art treatment options here. You may also contact us for more information.