Total Body Irradiation (TBI)

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is one of the only hospitals in the Northeast to offer Total Body Irradiation (TBI) for the treatment of various malignancies. In fact, our center is the only radiation facility to offer TBI in the entire state of New Jersey.

About TBI

Total body irradiation (TBI) with megavoltage photon beam is most commonly used as part of the conditioning region for bone marrow transplantation, which is used in the treatment of variety of diseases, such as leukemia, aplastic anemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, autoimmune diseases and inborn errors of metabolism. Many patients have TBI before transplant. It is delivered to the entire body.

It is given for any or all of the following reasons:

  • To destroy cancer cells in areas not easily reached by chemotherapy. These are the nervous system, bones, skin, and testes in men.
  • To decrease the response of your immune system. If you are getting bone marrow or stem cells from a donor, your body may see these as foreign. The immune system tries to destroy cells that are foreign to your body. TBI is done so that the immune system won’t destroy these cells.
  • To create space for the new marrow to grow (engraft).

Usually, the patient undergoes a chemotherapy conditioning program with the TBI and bone marrow transplant. Although chemotherapy alone can be used as a conditioning regimen, the addition of TBI is considered beneficial for certain diseases and clinical conditions. In our Department of Radiation Oncology, TBI is delivered using a linear accelerator through lateral fields in a comfortable sitting position at the TBI distance. A special treatment room is designed for large-field irradiation. With the patient in the sitting position, the radiation oncologist can shield certain critical organs from x-rays and spare surrounding tissues using TBI.

In conjunction with our partners in Rutgers Cancer Institute, RWJUH is the only radiation oncology center in New Jersey, and one of few centers in the country, that has the capability to offer TBI radiation, a unique arrangement of the radiation facility and accelerators to provide highly effective treatment to patients who require bone marrow transplantation. RWJUH Radiation Oncologist, Rahul R. Parikh, MD has found TBI to be extremely effective for many of his patients. He has successfully treated patients with this approach, with excellent immediate and long-term results.

For more information on TBI, please call 732-253-3939.

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