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

“You’re getting higher quality plans faster and more consistently,” Toth says.

Software developments mean facilities can get the full life out of their systems before investing in costly new technology.

“Software innovations are allowing clinicians to get more out of their hardware acquisitions,” Toth says.

Adapting to changes
Software is a key component of treatment planning and adapting to changes in tumor size, shape and location, or subtle changes in the location of organs and other healthy tissue, due to patient weight gain or loss.

Accuray's Radixact includes a new treatment planning system using what the company calls PreciseART adaptive therapy.

"A patient undergoes radiation treatment typically over six to seven weeks," says Corey Lawson, vice president of product strategy for Accuray. “The patient can change over time. They can lose or gain weight. The tumor may start to shrink. Historically, plans created on day one were delivered over the entire course of treatment, regardless of any underlying changes. While it may have been desirable to assess and potentially modify such plans, the tools were just not available to make such a workflow practical.”

PreciseART Adaptive Therapy is a new clinical tool that monitors changes that can happen while a patient is undergoing treatment, comparing the current state to the original treatment plan, helping to ensure the clinical objectives are met over the entire course of treatment and doing so automatically. In addition to acting as an early warning system should the patient change, it can also alert clinical staff to variability in daily pretreatment patient setup.

"It lets the clinician know whether they're on track to deliver the proper dose, or if the dose they're giving is starting to veer off track, it alerts the clinician,” Lawson says. “The clinician can then decide whether replanning is necessary."

The company also made changes to the delivery side with Radixact. Using a linear accelerator with a much higher dose output, clinicians can image and deliver dose to the patient faster than before, Lawson says. Those who have already adopted this new technology have typically realized a 30 percent to 40 percent boost in patient throughput, with highly precise treatments efficiently delivered across a broad range of cases.

Dr. Malika Siker, a radiation oncologist at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, has been treating patients using Radixact since last October.

"In general, the Radixact system delivers a seamless workflow including treatment planning and delivery process," Siker says.

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