Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver is among the first medical centers in the world--and the first in Colorado--to commence treating cancer patients using the new TrueBeam(TM) system for image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery, a revolutionary new technology platform designed to target a moving tumor with unprecedented speed and accuracy.
TrueBeam, which is made by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) of Palo Alto,( )delivers many forms of advanced treatments,( )including image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), RapidArc® radiotherapy and Gated RapidArc. “Each of these approaches is appropriate for a certain type of clinical challenge,” said Mark Chidel, M.D., medical director for Radiation Oncology at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital. “With this system, we have many more options for choosing the optimal approach for each of our patients, including those with challenging cancers of the lung, breast, abdomen, or head and neck.”
Prostate cancer patients were the first to receive treatment at ESJH with the new TrueBeam system. “Treating the prostate is very complicated, especially when you need to cover the lymph nodes,” said Dr. Chidel. “It lies very close to sensitive organs such as the bladder, rectum, and base of the penis. The image guidance and beam shaping capabilities of the TrueBeam system allow us to minimize radiation to these organs while still giving a high dose to the prostate.”
High quality 3-D images, produced using the system’s built-in imager, are used to fine-tune the patient’s position prior to every treatment. “These images are accurate within millimeters, which is vitally important when you consider that the prostate is a mobile organ and people do not necessarily lie down in the same exact position day to day over a multi-week course of treatment,” said Dr. Chidel. “Imaging is an essential part of modern-day, targeted radiotherapy, and this system allows us to minimize the X-ray dose we use to generate the images. That’s good for patients.”
Since installing the new system in mid-September, Exempla Saint Joseph clinicians have now used it to deliver radiotherapy treatments for head and neck, as well as prostate cancer, at conventional dose delivery rates. The next step will be to launch a program for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), two burgeoning subspecialties in radiation oncology that involve delivering very high doses to small lesions or metastases very quickly, over just one to five treatment sessions.
“The system offers us a High Intensity Mode that delivers dose up to four times faster than is possible with standard accelerators,” Dr. Chidel said. “This makes it possible to utilize stereotactic treatment approaches in a time-efficient manner. We fully expect to treat more than 100 patients annually with stereotactic radiotherapy using high dose delivery rates, once that program is up and running.”
Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital was the first site worldwide to deploy the TrueBeam system in a “mixed vendor” environment that utilizes a third-party oncology information system. “Varian technology operates within an open software architecture based on industry standards, which facilitate connectivity with third party solutions,” said Karla Donohoe, senior marketing director for Varian’s Oncology Systems business.
“I am really proud of my team and Varian’s, for getting all parts of our system working together so we can provide a more efficient and effective level of patient care,” said Karen McGraner, director, Radiation Oncology at Exempla St Joseph Hospital. “We’re pleased to be able to offer our patients the most advanced forms of radiotherapy treatment available.”