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GPS Medical Equipment

Radiation treatments for prostate cancer are tricky.  In order to effectively radiate an area of the prostate that has been affected by cancer, doctors must first figure out where, exactly, the cancer is located.  This is harder than it sounds, since the prostate often shifts while a patient is going through radiation therapy.  Dr. Howard Sandler, Cedar-Sinai's Chairman of Radiation Oncology, may be about to change the way that prostate cancer patients are treated using GPS tracking technology.

Sandler has devised a GPS tracking system called the "Calypso System" that effectively pinpoints that exact location of prostate cancer.  Using this technology, Sandler can accurately send radiation to precise spots.  Thus far, the system is working well.  Prior to the invention of the Calypso System, Sandler was forced to cover the entire prostate area with radiation, which sometimes resulted in radiating other organs.  This, in turn, caused numerous side effects including sexual dysfunction.

Now, with the help of GPS technology, Sandler can put his patients through radiation therapy without worrying about impacting other organs in the process.  In order to use this technology, small beacons are inserted into a patient's prostate.  These beacons detect radio waves, and this allows doctors to detect the location of cancer.  Medical hospitals can purchase the entire Calypso System for around $500,000.

The new use for GPS tracking technology is turning a lot of heads within the medical community, since it is the first of its kind.  Many hope that providing prostate cancer patients with radiology treatments will become less exhausting for both patients and doctors with the help of GPS tracking devices.  Presently, the Calypso System is being tested at Cedars-Sinai hospital, though it is expected to be available for widespread medical use within the near future.