Patients being treated for cancer will benefit from a new type of intensity modulated radiotherapy system (IMRT) which has now been successfully installed at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
The advanced system, called RapidArc, was installed on two of the existing medical linear accelerators a month ago and is now being used on patients. The system delivers precise image-guided IMRT treatments up to four times faster than conventional IMRT.
It makes treatments a more comfortable experience for patients as the faster delivery reduces the chance and extent of patient motion during treatment enabling more precise dose distribution while helping to protect nearby healthy tissue and vital organs. The side-effects which patients often experience are also significantly diminished and tumour control is potentially increased.
David Dodds, Clinical Lead for Radiotherapy said: “This is a significant advance for one of the busiest cancer centres in the country and provides an opportunity to offer advanced IMRT treatments to more patients.
“In the past, the provision for IMRT has been limited as the technique takes longer to deliver. RapidArc will allow us to treat much more quickly and as a result more patients will be able to benefit from the technology. These treatments are currently only being used for head and neck cancer patients but we expect this to be extended to include other cancers such as prostate and brain in the months ahead.”
Garry Currie, Head of Radiotherapy Physics, added, “RapidArc was installed on two of the department’s linear accelerators only a matter of weeks ago but has been rapidly commissioned to allow the benefits of this technology to be made available as quickly as possible to patients with head and neck cancer in the first instance.
“The Beatson was the first radiotherapy centre in Scotland to introduce IMRT and we have been seeking new methods to allow more patients to receive the benefits of this highly conformal technology.
“Previously, patient treatments would have required up to nine different positions of the treatment machine to be set in sequence. Now, instead of this stop and start approach, with RapidArc, such treatments will take place in continuous rotations of the machine, taking just over two minutes.”
Notes to Editors
Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) is now established as an accurate, reliable and efficient means of radiotherapy delivery. This technique allows maximal radiation doses to be delivered to a tumour while at the same time allowing sparing of surrounding normal tissues.
RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT.
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