El Camino Hospital’s Center for Advanced Radiotherapy and CyberKnife Radiosurgery has added another tool to its arsenal of cancer treatments with its just-installed RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems. The latest addition delivers image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to target tumors while sparing healthy tissue.
El Camino said that the advanced form of IMRT is two to eight times faster than conventional IMRT or other treatments. IMRT is a form of 3D therapy that uses a computer-driven machine that moves around the patient as it delivers radiation.
In addition to shaping the beams and aiming them at the tumor from several angles, the radiologist can adjust the intensity of the beams to minimize the dose reaching the most sensitive normal tissues while delivering an even higher dose to the cancerous areas.
To be effective, the patient must be immobilized throughout an IMRT treatment so the tumor can be precisely targeted. The ability to dramatically shorten each treatment differentiates RapidArc IMRT from other hospitals and cancer centers which are able to provide IMRT.
Using a linear accelerator, RapidArc delivers a complete IMRT treatment with a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient, focusing the radiation beam precisely.
El Camino added that currently, IMRT is being used extensively to treat cancers of the prostate, thorax, head and neck, and central nervous system. IMRT has also been used in limited situations to treat breast, thyroid, lung, as well as in gastrointestinal, gynecologic malignancies and certain types of sarcomas. The treatment may also be beneficial for treating pediatric malignancies.
Robert Sinha, a radiation oncologist at El Camino Hospital, said: “RapidArc offers the proven benefits of IMRT which enables us to shape the radiation around normal structures and thus deliver higher doses to cancerous tissue in a much faster delivery mode. It’s a real win for us and for our patients. The shorter treatment times with RapidArc reduce the amount of scatter and leakage radiation to the rest of the body, compared to conventional IMRT.
“This is one more weapon in our cancer treatment arsenal. It is part of our ongoing commitment to offering our patients the most appropriate form of treatment available, based on each patient’s unique clinical situation.”