Special Clinical Focus
- Radiation therapy
- Percutaneous radiation therapy
- Radiation chemotherapy
- Pain therapy
- Breath-triggered radiotherapy
Under the umbrella of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the radiation oncology Department at the Charité, within the network of all three clinical sites with their with in-patient beds and out-patient areas at the CBF, CVK and CCM, provides the complete range of radiation oncology treatment techniques, right up to particle therapy (protons and carbon ions). For this purpose, a total of 10 linear accelerators, two brachytherapy facilities, one intra-operative radiotherapy unit, the regional deep tissue hyperthermia facility and a proton therapy unit are available. Thus, in practice, all therapeutic concepts of modern radiation oncology for the control and cure of tumour conditions spread locally and loco-regionally can be provided by a single source. This is the best guarantee that patients will benefit from the respective optimum radiotherapy as part of a frequently multimodal individual therapeutic concept, ensuredat the highest level of evidence by the interdisciplinary tumour conferences.
Complex simultaneous radio-chemotherapy and immunotherapy are performed by a highly proficient medical and nursing team supported by a psycho-oncologist, in Ward 14A (CBF) and Ward 61 (CVK), with a total of 50 beds.
The range of state of the art radiation oncology technologies available at the Charité is unparalleled, worldwide. So, all sites (CBF, CVK and CCM) have state of the art linear accelerators available, which are able to perform treatment for cancer using Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), and also, to an extent, as VMAT. In the course of this, the optimum positioning for the patient is ensured by means of X-ray imaging or CT-aided techniques (“image guidance”), each day, directly before each radiotherapy session. The “gating” technique, for irradiating tumours which shift due to respiration, is also provided. In close collaboration with the Hahn-Meitner Institute, the CBF also provides proton therapy for particular tumours of the eye. This is currently the best treatment for choroidal melanomata. The therapeutic range of intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT), using electrons, for abdominal tumours is expanded by the intraoperative irradiation of the tumour bed in breast carcinoma, using the INTRABEAM irradiation unit. Hence, external radiotherapy can be reduced from 6½ weeks to 3 - 5 weeks. For breast cancer with a low risk of recurrence, IORT can also be utilised as the sole adjuvant therapeutic measure. Also unique in Germany, an in-patient treatment unit has been established for the performance of clinical Phase I studies, which is intended to test the combination of radiotherapy with up to date, newly developed cytostatic agents or other biomodulators, not hitherto approved in this combination.
Together with the above-mentioned accelerators for standard treatment, highly specialised therapeutic techniques are also employed at the CVK site, such as stereotactic fractionated high-precision irradiation using the Novalis system or, respiration-controlled radio surgery with the robotic “Cyberknife” accelerator. A “tomotherapy” system for performing large-volume irradiation, complemented by an integrated CT prior to each irradiation session for the optimum patient positioning, is also available for the treatment of the patients. Recently, the regional deep tissue hyperthermia has also again been provided at CVK, as well as nanotherapy within the framework of a clinical study of locally recurring glioblastomata. In addition, HDR brachytherapy for gynaecological, bronchial and other tumours, is also provided.
Thus, a patient who undergoes radiation oncology treatment (radiotherapy) at the Charité has the decided advantage that, given the availability of the entire range of all radiotherapeutic treatment techniques, he can always be treated using the best therapeutic techniques for his individual situation. This is a unique characteristic of the Charité, nationwide.
As well, in incurable cancer stages, the use of the various radiotherapy techniques can still lead to long-term, as well as local, tumour healing to some extent. This applies to the treatment of single or multiple cerebral metastases, bony metastases, where stability has been compromised, and of single or oligotopic soft tissue metastases in the lungs, liver and elsewhere. Here, using stereotactic fractionated radiotherapy or radiosurgery, long-term local tumour clearance and relief from or alleviation of pain can still frequently be achieved.
The treatment of the patients at the radiation oncology and Radiotherapy Department at the Charité, complemented at the highest level of expertise and results by interdisciplinary expertise, guarantees a tumour cure or long-term alleviation or alleviation of the pain of the cancer in many cases. Here, the department's own team, consisting of doctors, medical physicists, medical technical assistants, nurses, psycho-oncologists and other care providers plays an important role in the success of the treatment. All employees at the radiation oncology and Radiotherapy Clinic have been specially trained in caring for the, to an extent, seriously ill cancer patients. Here, a friendly and even affectionate attitude towards the patients plays a central role.
Prof. Volker Budach,
Director of the radiation oncology and
Charité Universitaetsmedizin, Berlin
of selected experts in the specialist field Radiation Therapy | Radiation Oncology