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Precision Targeting for Breast Cancer Treatment

LaRonda Peterson
“In October 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 37 years old with no history of breast cancer in my family when my doctor found a lump. Dr. Nasr did an excellent job of explaining the BioZorb device to me. It was reassuring to know the radiation was targeted exactly where it needed to go. I’m doing great.”
— LaRonda Peterson.

Diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, LaRonda’s treatment began with a lumpectomy (breast-conserving) surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She was one of the first patients at Virginia Hospital Center to have BioZorb® implanted, a bio-absorbable marker that improves the precision of radiation treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer.

LaRonda was able to have a lumpectomy and insertion of the BioZorb device, as well as breast reconstruction, all in the same surgical procedure.

LaRonda completed her treatment in June 2015 and continues to be in remission.

A nationwide study of 296 patients conducted at 12 cancer centers, including Virginia Hospital Center, found that the BioZorb device, is beneficial for partial breast irradiation planning and treatment to directly target the tumor site. Virginia Hospital Center was well-positioned to participate in this study, having been an early adopter of the BioZorb technology in 2014.

"Being involved in a wide range of cancer research enhances our current understanding, which makes the treatment we provide to our patients at Virginia Hospital Center that much better. By participating in this study, we were able to help practitioners on a national scale, and their patients, make informed decisions about their treatment.” — Robert Hong, MD, Chief of Radiation Oncology.

“Radiation treatment for breast cancer involves radiating the entire breast to destroy any microscopic cells that might be left behind, to reduce the chance of recurrence. And, there is good data over the past 30 years that giving additional radiation—a ‘boost’ right where the tumor used to be—improves treatment outcomes. With the precise targeting of BioZorb, we are able to safely reduce the amount of radiation needed to prevent reoccurrence, and avoid unnecessary radiation to healthy tissue.” — Nadim Nasr, MD, radiation oncologist.

However, finding the exact spot can be difficult once the site is healed and it’s time for radiation treatment to begin. The BioZorb surgical marker is implanted at the tumor site at the time of lumpectomy. A small, three-dimensional, spiral-shaped device, BioZorb has tiny, titanium clips that provide a target for aiming radiation therapy precisely at the tumor site. It is made of bio-absorbable material, which is slowly absorbed by the patient’s body over the course of about a year.

Additionally, the 3D structure of the device helps provide a replacement for the volume of breast tissue removed during surgery, and a framework for new tissue growth. This helps preserve the natural contour of the breast for a much better cosmetic outcome.

Virginia Hospital Center's BioZorb study

Dr. Hong co-authored the BioZorb study, along with members of the other participating cancer research institutions.

The results of 3D Implantable Marker Provides Benefits for Radiation Targeting & Cosmesis were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in April.

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BioZorb Research

The BioZorb device, is an innovative implantable marker, beneficial for partial breast irradiation planning and treatment to directly target the tumor site. 

Early findings of the study also suggest excellent cosmetic results can be achieved in the vast majority (over 90%) of patients undergoing breast-conserving surgery and implantation of this unique device. The device provides a structure for breast tissue that helps preserve the natural contour of the breast.

The combination of improved radiation targeting and the 3D structure of the device, which provides volume replacement and a framework for new tissue growth, contribute to the excellent overall results reported in these patients.

“The 3D device holds tiny markers, and is placed in the tumor bed at the time of the lumpectomy and breast reconstructive surgery. The role of the markers is to help radiation oncologists target the area more precisely during treatment, which means avoiding unnecessary radiation to healthy tissue.” — Robert Hong, MD, Chief of Radiation Oncology.

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