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Primera unidad móvil de la radioterapia de TomoTherapy Rolls hacia fuera

por Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 27, 2009
TheTomoMobile hits
the road on its way to treat
its first patient this week
TomoTherapy, Inc. announced that the first patient will be treated this week by what it claims is the world's only mobile radiation oncology unit.

In advance of its public showcase at the ASTRO conference in Chicago, Nov 1-5, the TomoMobile, a trailer-borne radiation system, has been sent to a cancer center in Muskogee, Okla.

"There's one out there on the road now," Patrick Ploc, a development manager at TomoTherapy, tells DOTmed News. "It'll be treating its first patient [this] week."

The TomoMobile is similar to a portable CT system, but instead of a scanner it uses a low-energy helical linear accelerator which rotates around a CT gantry.

Although Ploc says TomoTherapy is "known for niche head and neck, complicated cancer systems," he hopes TomoMobile will show TomoTherapy's equipment can be used to treat a broad range of cancers.

No excess shielding needed

Both the low energy and the precision delivery of the beam make it possible to overcome one of the main hurdles to getting a radiation oncology unit on the road: the weight of excessive shielding.

"Primary transmission is almost eliminated. What we're mostly stopping is leakage," Ploc says.

Still, the TomoMobile does require a bit more shielding than your typical imaging-on-wheels unit, and that translates into more assembly time.

"It's different from portable PET and MRI," says Ploc. "Those can be somewhere on Friday, and doing diagnostic testing someplace else on Monday. This system is a little more complicated, because of the lead and weight involved in shielding."

Ploc predicts the TomoMobile will take around one week to set up or tear down.

TomoTherapy believes the system will have many uses, especially for those entering a new market or working in rural areas. The TomoMobile could hit the road while the health group waits the one or two years needed to build a new oncology facility, as the cancer center in Muskogee is doing.

"They can begin recruiting patients, begin getting a customer base, begin getting patients referred to them," Ploc says.

"Interest has been high. We are now setting up appointments at ASTRO, some public, most will be private," Ploc continues. "We've had a number of people comment this could help them delay construction cost....With the economy being what it is, they can get their entire self-contained unit up for a fraction of the cost for a whole stationary [platform]."