RefleXion: Targeting Tumors from the Inside Out


PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— For people with metastatic cancer, radiation is often not an option. With traditional radiation, each tumor needs to be treated separately, requiring multiple sessions. Now, new technology expands options for patients with advanced cancer, RefleXion.

Patients with early-stage solid tumor cancers, like breast cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer, often have radiation directing energy beams into the body to kill cancer cells. Now, a newly approved FDA system, called RefleXion, works using biology guided radiotherapy or BGRT.

“This actually utilizes the biological signal. So, it’s adapting the treatment based upon the actual biology of the tumor. And it’s actually using the biology of the tumor to track and account for motion and deliver more conformal treatments,” David A. Clump, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer, told Ivanhoe.

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Before radiotherapy, patients are given a small amount of radioactive tracer that is absorbed by the tumors. The tracer gives off a signal, allowing the RefleXion scanner to precisely track it in real time, and adjust if the patient or tumor is moving.

Dr. Clump explained, “It helps with precision, we’re able to be more conformal, which means we’re able to target the radiation in and around the tumor and spare the normal tissues. I think the most important aspect is this gives us the first opportunity to really ablate disease in multiple areas of the body in a single treatment session.”

Working inside and out to fight cancer.

The RefleXion X1 is currently cleared for doctors to use for some external beam radiation treatments, including SBRT, or stereotactic body radiation therapy.  It is considered investigational right now for BgRT, biology- guided radiotherapy.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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RADIATION BACKGROUND: Radiation is a therapy used to treat cancer patients. It uses energy beams to kill cancerous cells in the body. The machine is outside the body and aims at the precise point of the cancerous cells. The radiation works because the beams damage the cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. More than half of all people diagnosed with cancer receive radiation treatment. It is used to rid the body of cancerous cells, to shrink a tumor before surgery, to stop the growth of cancerous cells after surgery, in combination with chemotherapy, and in advanced cancers to alleviate symptoms caused by cancer. Side effects depend on which part of the body the radiation is used. If used anywhere on the body, side effects are hair loss at treatment site, skin irritation at treatment site, fatigue. If used to treat the head and neck side effects are dry mouth, thickened saliva, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, changes in the way food tastes, nausea, mouth sores, tooth decay. If used to treat the chest area the side effects are, difficulty swallowing, cough, shortness of breath. On the abdomen area the side effects are, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. And in the pelvis area the side effects include, bladder irritation, frequent urination, sexual dysfunction.


RADIATION TREATMENT: If the patient is diagnosed with cancer, the most common treatment will be radiation therapy. Sometimes its combined with other treatments, but mostly radiation alone tends to be the most used option for cancer patients. It is used to cure or shrink early-stage cancer, stop cancer from coming back, treat symptoms of cancer, and treat reoccurring cancer.


RADIATION NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new treatment is exploring how two-dimensional imaging compared to four dimensional could provide a more targeted treatment. This would allow a higher radiation dose which could mean the cancerous cells are treated more effectively, which would reduce the amount of time it takes to receive radiation therapy and therefore reduces the exposure to toxins while in therapy. This new approach is called stereotactic body radiation therapy, and its being applied to different types of cancer. This treatment is different because it uses highly focused radiation that has been concentrated on small tumors and gives a lower dose to surrounding tissues. This gives the advantage of fewer treatments overall.






If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for David A. Clump, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncologist

Read the entire Q&A