Radiation therapy gets more targeted and personalized

por Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | September 18, 2017
Rad Oncology Radiation Therapy
From the September 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“The technology has the potential to deliver a very precise treatment,” Rubenstein says.

The company is about to complete a 17-patient clinical trial on safety and feasibility sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, where GammaPod inventors Cedric Yu and William Regine are faculty members. Once the company receives data from the trial, it plans to submit for FDA clearance.

Other research is currently planned, including studies evaluating whether there are benefits of delivering radiation therapy before breast surgery instead of after surgery.

“Studies have shown that a preoperative approach can treat a much smaller target volume than a lumpectomy cavity, which has larger volume of tissue,” Rubenstein says. “One day we hope to … identify a subset of patients who could be spared all the challenges that come along with surgery.”

A study recently led by Dr. Elizabeth Nichols from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics found that certain patients were able to achieve a complete pathological response after preoperative partial breast treatment without surgery.

Considering quality of life
As cancer cases increase, manufacturers are looking to increase the benefits of treatment.

“We used to think of outcomes being survival,” says Chris Toth, president of global commercial and field operations for Varian Medical Systems. “We’ve expanded the definition as we expand to new treatment delivery methods. We are going to need to be considerate of not just survival, but quality of life to survival.”

Two systems Toth connects to this aim are its Halcyon image-guided volumetric intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) system, which received FDA 510(k) clearance in June, and the HyperArc high-definition radiotherapy (HDRT) system, which is 510(k) pending.

Toth says the Halcyon’s innovative beam shaping system allows clinicians to modulate the radiation beam to the tumor.

“There’s virtually no dose spillover into the spillover structures and surrounding areas of the target,” Toth says.

HyperArc is a technology tailored to treatment of individual metastases in the brain, instead of the whole brain, in an effort to maintain cognitive ability.

Varian also recently launched Rapid Plan, a module to its radiation therapy treatment planning software Eclipse. The software uses big data and mathematic modeling to improve quality, consistency and efficiency, Toth says.

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