TomoTherapy® Is Now Available In Utah
Conventional radiation therapy delivers a wide beam of radiation from only a few angles. The TomoTherapy® treatment system uses its unique CT scanner design to deliver radiation continuously from all angles around the patient, delivering precise beams that conform to tumors and minimize healthy tissue damage.
Through our partnership with Gamma West Cancer Services, the TomoTherapy® treatment system is now available at Davis Hospital. Currently, we are the only cancer treatment facility in Utah to offer this leading edge cancer treatment.
The Short Story
TomoTherapy users have the unique ability to:
Use daily CT imaging to guide treatment based on patient anatomy for that day, rather than for last week or last month
Customize delivery for each patient, surrounding the target with highly-precise radiation delivered from all angles
Minimize radiation exposure to healthy tissue
If necessary, adapt the treatment plan at any point
About five years ago, the first patient was treated on a Hi•Art system. Today, thousands are being treated on more than 150 systems installed in centers around the world.
The Rest Of The Story
For more than 80 years, radiation therapy has been used in cancer care. The primary challenges have remained the same:
How can doctors be sure the beam is reaching the tumor as planned?
How can harm to healthy tissue around the tumor be minimized?
Addressing these challenges in newer, better ways has always entailed adapting a design from a different era. In the early 1990s, we had the opportunity to change that with a machine built for the future.
360º delivery. Conventional machine design allows radiation to be delivered from only a few directions. The Hi•Art treatment system’s linear accelerator (linac) is mounted to a CT scanner-like ring gantry, which means TomoTherapy treatments can be delivered continuously, from all angles around the patient. More beam directions give physicians more control in how they plan treatments—and more assurance that dose will be confined to the tumor, reducing the risk of short- and long-term side effects.
Thousands of targeted beamlets. The Hi•Art treatment system uses a patented multi-leaf collimator (MLC) that divides the radiation beam into beamlets, all aimed at the tumor. Typically, tens of thousands of beamlets are used in a single TomoTherapy treatment session. Powerful software optimizes the contribution of each one to the total tumor dose, minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.
CTrue™ image guidance for every patient, every day™. Our unique ring gantry design facilitates a 360º delivery pattern. Perhaps even more importantly, it integrates true CT imaging that can be used on a daily basis to guide the accurate delivery of each treatment session. No other radiation therapy machine offers this seamless integration of image-guided and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. No other machine can.
The Tomo® Process
The TomoTherapy® Hi•Art® system introduces a new, integrated way to deliver radiation treatments for cancer. The process makes it easier on clinicians and patients alike.
Planning. Before beginning a TomoTherapy treatment, the doctor uses 3D images from a combination of scanning technologies (such as CT and MRI) and special software to establish the precise contours for each treatment volume (tumor) and any regions at risk (sensitive organs or structures). The doctor then decides how much radiation the tumor should receive, as well as acceptable levels for surrounding structures. The Hi•Art treatment system calculates the appropriate pattern, position and intensity of the radiation beam to be delivered, to match the doctor’s prescription as closely as possible.
Patient positioning. As both a treatment delivery machine and a CT scanner, the Hi•Art system allows doctors to take a CT scan just before each treatment. With the scan, they can verify the position of the tumor and, if necessary, adjust the patient’s position to help make sure radiation is directed right where it should be.
Continuous 360º treatment delivery. The Hi•Art treatment system delivers intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with a helical (spiral) delivery pattern. Photon radiation is produced by a linear accelerator (or linac for short), which travels in multiple circles around the patient and moves in unison with a device called a multi-leaf collimator, or MLC. Meanwhile, the couch is also moving—guiding the patient slowly through the center of the ring. Each time the linac makes a loop around the patient it directs a unique, optimized set of radiation beamlets at the tumor. Quite literally, the Tomo process runs rings around cancer!
Questions & Answers:
How long will the procedure take?
The full TomoTherapySM treatment typically takes 10-20 minutes from when the patient enters the treatment room until they leave. This includes daily CT scanning and treatment (“beam-on time”) time as well as patient set-up, positioning and image registration to ensure accuracy. The actual time will vary by patient.
Why perform a CT scan every day?
CTrue™ imaging, available only from the Hi•Art® system, allows clinicians to see what they plan to treat immediately prior to beginning each treatment fraction. This is important because anatomy can change from day to day. CTrue helps ensure that the tumor will not be under-dosed, and that radiation exposure to surrounding tissue will be minimized according to plan. In addition, daily CT scans can be used to adapt a treatment plan, if necessary.