December 11, 1987

An `Elegant' Radiotherapy Comes of Age

JAMA. 1987;258(22):3217-3220. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400220015005

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JACOB FABRIKANT, MD, gently places his right hand on the chest of the supine young man from eastern Africa and looks into his eyes through peepholes cut in the white polyform headgear, fitted over his face like a hockey goalie's mask.

"Stop talking, you'll move," he cautions the patient, who is strapped down to a specially designed table, his head in a stereotaxis vise. "Breathe regularly and breathe quietly. We'll be watching you on television."

Fabrikant, Mark Phillips, PhD, a physicist, and Myrtle Foster, a research associate, hurry from the room, the "medical cave" of the Lawrence Berkeley (Calif) Laboratory's synchrocyclotron facility. The patient is left alone, his head directly in line with the business end of a large cylindrical collimator.

Fabrikant sits down with the patient's charts and begins documenting. Phillips monitors a bank of eight video display terminal screens, relaying information to Fabrikant.

Fabrikant gives the order to