North Shore-LIJ Department of Radiation Medicine Introduces New Cancer-Fighting Technology:
The TrueBeamTM system expands radiotherapy treatment options for even the most challenging cases
In a promising development for cancer patients in the New York metropolitan area, the Long Island Jewish Medical Center Department of Radiation Medicine has acquired an innovative new system called TrueBeam™ that offers a radically different approach to treating cancer with image-guided radiotherapy.
The TrueBeam™ system, produced by Varian Medical Systems, was engineered from the ground up to deliver more powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. It uniquely integrates new imaging and motion management technologies within a sophisticated new architecture that makes it possible to deliver treatments more quickly while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion. The technology opens the door to new possibilities for the treatment of lung, breast, prostate, head, neck and other cancers that are treatable with radiotherapy. The system will be operational at LIJ in July 2010.
“TrueBeam™ is a real game-changer that will enable us to treat even the most challenging cases with unprecedented speed and precision,” said Louis Potters, MD, chairman of radiation medicine at LIJ Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital. “With a broad spectrum of new capabilities, TrueBeam™ breaks the mold in just about every dimension, making it possible for us to offer faster, more targeted treatments to tumors even as they move and change over time.”
With dose delivery rates that are 40-to-140 percent higher than earlier generations of Linear Accelerator technology, the TrueBeam™ system can complete a treatment commensurately faster. This makes it possible to offer greater patient comfort by shortening treatments and improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery. “Intelligent” automation further speeds treatments with an up to five-fold reduction in the number of steps needed for image guidance and dose delivery.
Simple treatments that once took 15 minutes or more can be completed in less than two once the patient is in position. “These are significant reductions in treatment time,” said Dr. Potters. “Patients will spend a whole lot less time lying still, immobilized on a hard surface.”
Being an early adopter of this technology will require rigorous testing and quality assurance testing. The North Shore-LIJ Department of Radiation Medicine is looking forward to putting this machine ‘through its paces’ to ensure a smooth integration of treatment planning and delivery with the greatest of accuracy, Dr. Potters said. “This tool offers us capabilities never before considered,” he said, “but along with that potential comes the responsibility to prove the clinical benefits of this technology.”
The precision of the TrueBeam™ system is measured in increments of less than a millimeter. This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture, which synchronizes imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery, performing accuracy checks every 10 milliseconds throughout the entire treatment. Over 100,000 data points are measured every 10 seconds as a treatment progresses, ensuring that the system maintains a “true isocenter,” or focal point of treatment.
For lung and other tumors subject to respiratory motion, TrueBeam™ offers gated RapidArc® radiotherapy, which makes it possible to monitor patient breathing and compensate for tumor motion, while quickly delivering the appropriate dose during a continuous rotation around the patient. “During the last decade, lung cancer became the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States,” said Dr. Potters. With TrueBeam™, we can treat a moving lung tumor as if it were standing still. We expect this to make a meaningful difference for lung cancer patients in the area.”
Faster Imaging at Lower Doses
>TrueBeam™ imaging technology can produce the three-dimensional images used to fine-tune tumor targeting in 60 percent less time. Additional functionality makes it possible to create images using 25 percent less X-ray doses. “Imaging is an essential part of modern-day, targeted radiotherapy,” explained Dr. Potters. “This machine allows us to choose an imaging mode that minimizes the amount of X-rays needed to generate an image—and that’s good for our patients.”
TrueBeam™ can be used for radiotherapy treatments, including image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery (IGRT and IGRS), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), RapidArc® radiotherapy and gated RapidArc.
“With TrueBeam™, we can select the optimal treatment for every type of cancer,” said Dr. Potters. “This is a breakthrough that lets us bring a wider spectrum of advanced radiotherapy treatment options to many more patients. It represents a quantum leap in our ability to help people fight cancer.”