News | August 19, 2007

Cancer Center Offers Cutting-Edge GPS Technology

August 20, 2007 — Operating under the same tracking principles as a Global Positioning System in a car or cell phone, GPS for the Body system is now available at Penn's Department of Radiation Oncology.

This system offers cancer patient's real-time tracking of the prostate gland during radiation treatment with IMRT or intensity-modulated radiation therapy. Penn is the only institution in Philadelphia to offer this new technology.

Called the Calypso 4D Localization System, this new technology works just like a GPS tracking system but for the prostate. It allows for continuous monitoring of the prostate gland during treatment. Three miniature electromagnetic sensors no bigger than a grain of rice are implanted into the prostate during a brief outpatient procedure. Called Beacon transponders, these micro mini transmitters monitor the position and motion of the prostate in real-time, continuously sending signals to a receiver in the radiation treatment room. Before each treatment, the Calypso seeks out the "beacons" and helps the technologist to re-align the treatment plan. This system is the only one to offer "real time tracking" which helps improve the accuracy of delivering radiation.

PENN Medicine is a $3.5 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

For more information: