Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center Sigulda (SRC Sigulda) was opened in Sigulda on 24 November 2015. The center provides its patients with access to CyberKnife, the most advanced technology for treating benign and malignant tumors in the Baltic States.
During the opening event, Dr. pharm. Māris Skromanis, Head of SRC Sigulda, said: “This is an important project not only for Sigulda and Latvia, but also for the Baltic States. SRC Sigulda is the first radiosurgery and CyberKnife® technology center in the Baltics. This is the first public-private partnership clinic specializing in oncology in Latvia. It is daring to open such a highly specialized center outside the university hospitals. The method cannot be separated from the patient’s examination and treatment as a whole, involving a number of specialists and other medical institutions. We are one of the mechanisms in the system, which focuses on patients, making services more accessible and convenient. The moment when we have helped actual patients is bound to bring great satisfaction and appreciation”.
The opening event of the center was also attended by Uģis Mitrevics, Mayor at Sigulda Municipality Council. “This is an example of how a small town hospital, which was previously faced with the risk of winding-up, has been able to develop thanks to the support from the municipality and provide new, high-quality services, and now even offers exportable technology. It is a double pleasure that the implementation of this project will improve the people’s quality of life, and, more importantly, they will be given the opportunity to live”.
The latest and most advanced tumor treatment technology is now available in Latvia
CyberKnife® is noninvasive robotic radiosurgery technology, which is particularly suitable for patients whose tumors cannot be surgically removed, if the location of the tumors cannot be reached or if surgery poses substantial risk to health and life. This method is mainly intended for the treatment of tumors with a diameter of up to three centimeters (or up to five centimeters in very rare cases).
Radiosurgery with CyberKnife® is an alternative or adjunctive treatment to invasive surgery and conventional radiation therapy. “There are cases when individual surgical treatment or radiosurgery cannot help, while a combination of both methods makes it possible to obtain a good outcome for the patient. For example, if a patient has six metastases in the brain, two of them with a large size can be removed surgically, but the remaining four can be radiated with CyberKnife®,” Egils Valeinis, Head of the Neurosurgery Clinic at Paul Stradins Clinical University Hospital explains.
Dace Saukuma, Chairperson of the Latvian Therapeutic Radiology Association and Chief Radiotherapy Physician of the Oncology Center of Latvia, points out: “I am delighted to witness such an important moment of Latvian medical industry. The CyberKnife® robotic stereotactic radiosurgery system has been designed specifically for radiosurgery. This technology provides treatment for patients with both oncological and non-oncological diseases. During the treatment with CyberKnife®, the patient receives high (ablative) doses of ionizing radiation, while maintaining the surrounding healthy tissues as much as practical, achieving an effect equivalent to surgical treatment, and curing the patient and/or prolonging his or her life. One of the goals of the treatment is to reduce pain and long-term or chronic symptoms, such as those common in patients with Parkinsonism, epilepsy, trigeminal neuralgia and vascular pathology. This method is technically easier and more convenient for the patient, and it does not require fixation frames or anesthesia. Anatomical structures of the body and markers placed in the vicinity of the tumor are used to position the patient and ensure accuracy of treatment.”
Leading Latvian doctors emphasize that the availability of this treatment will above all benefit the patients who will now have access, here in Latvia, to the world’s most advanced technology in this field. Dr.med. Kārlis Kupčs, Head of the Institute of Diagnostic Radiology at Pauls Stradins Clinical University, says: “This technology is the last phase that until recently was not available to patients in Latvia.”
Professionalism and competence demonstrated by experienced specialists
The activities of the specialists of Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center Sigulda are not limited only to contact with the patient during the session. What takes the most time is the preparation of the radiosurgery plan by a number of specialists – medical physicists and radiation therapists, selection of the exact radiotherapy dose and determination of the areas or zones which have to be radiated or protected from radiation.
The specialists of the SRC Center Sigulda have made in-depth preparations for working with the advanced equipment. The team underwent training at world-class radiosurgery training centers in the US and radiosurgery clinics in Germany and Italy. A very close cooperation has been established with CyberKnife Center of Hamburg, Germany.
A total of 5.6 million euros was invested in constructing Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center Sigulda and purchasing the necessary equipment; Citadele Bank granted a loan of 3.8 million and the remaining 1.8 million came from private capital. The project is being implemented within the framework of the High Value-Added Investments Programme, Stage 4, under the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) and supported by ERDF funding. The LIAA’s grant of 2.13 million euros will be made available only after the successful implementation of the project and it will be used to repay Citadele Bank’s loan.