Cancer treatment system sculpts radiation beam to match shape of a tumor

March 26, 2012

Rush University Medical Center will begin offering in late March a new stereotactic radiosurgery treatment program with the latest radiation therapy technology available.

The new imaging and radiosurgery treatment system, called VarianTrueBeam STx, is capable of fast and precise noninvasive image-guided radiation therapy. Radiosurgery operates by directing highly-focused beams of with high precision to a tumor.

"Radiosurgery platforms like TrueBeam can give hope to patients with inoperable or surgically complex tumors, as well as those seeking an alternative to conventional or radiation therapy," said Dr. Aidnag Diaz, medical director of Rush Radiosurgery. This will transform the treatment of many such as head and neck, lung, liver and spine, cancers."

During treatment, the machine rotates around the patient to deliver radiation with a radiation beam that is aimed directly at the tumor site. The radiation beam is sculpted and shaped to match the three-dimensional shape of the tumor, helping protect nearby healthy tissue and critical organs. This is a noninvasive treatment where patients usually return to normal activities immediately following treatment.

The system can be tailored for a particular cancer treatment and has a control system that automatically detects patient position and motion, and manages shaping and dose delivery. When the system is in use, it performs accuracy checks measured in increments of less than a millimeter every 10 milliseconds throughout the entire treatment.

"It can be challenging for a patient to be completely still during a 45-minute treatment," said Diaz. "This technology will allow us to treat a patient within 5 to 15 minutes, a fraction of the time, helping us to provide faster, more precise even during movement. Rush Radiosurgery is being developed through a joint venture between Rush University Medical Center and US Radiosurgery of Alliance Oncology. Rush Radiosurgery is a part of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Rush.

"The development of Rush Radiosurgery and the addition of TrueBeam STx technology further illustrates our mission to provide patients state-of-the-art options and the highest quality of care," said Dr. Diaz.

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