04 JUNE 2016

On the cutting edge

Parkway Cancer Centre has invested in cutting edge medical technology. Here are some of them. Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases since it was first discovered in 1600 BC.

Today, the complexity of the disease requires a multi-disciplinary approach supported by technology that also requires continual updating and upgrading.

The Varian TrueBeam, Elekta VMAT, and Gamma Knife are some of the systems Parkway Cancer Centre has been using.

Varian TrueBeam System

The TrueBeam is a radiotherapy and radio-surgery treatment system that is capable of fast and precise image-guided radiotherapy. The system incorporates advanced imaging and motion management technologies so that doctors can monitor the delivery of radiation better.

Its motion management* feature allows for treatment of particular types of cancer such as those of the lung, breast, prostate, head and neck, among others.

The system is a great tool for physicians adopting advanced treatments like stereotactic body radiation therapy (a radiation therapy approach that delivers high doses of radiation to a target within the body).

The TrueBeam is “Novalis Certified” with Brainlab ExacTrac off centre imaging capabilities helping doctors “see” their target position in any angle, enhancing accuracy. It can do in two minutes what used to take between 10 and 30 minutes.

It also has built-in music capabilities so that patients can listen to music during treatment. Patients can also communicate with the therapist who operates the system.

*Motion refers to movements made by patients during treatment, such as breathing or shifting of the body, which results in the movement of the position of the tumour in the body. With motion management, the system can track the movement of the tumour and accurately deliver the treatment, instead of hitting healthy tissue.

Elekta VMAT

Elekta’s advanced arc therapy technique, the VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy), allows single or multiple radiation beams to sweep in uninterrupted arc/s around the patient, dramatically speeding delivery.

Its 3-D volume imaging technology increases the precision of the VMAT and enables physicians to visualise the tumour target at the time of treatment and to guide therapy that both increases the radiation dose to the tumour target and reduces exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.

t also reduces treatment duration drastically; from a previous eight to 12 minutes to a mere two minutes to deliver high doses of radiation to a tumour target. This also decreases the likelihood of patient movement during treatment.

Gamma Knife

The Gamma Knife is a form of stereotactic radiotherapy used to treat brain tumours and brain abnormalities such as vascular malformations without the need for open surgery.

The system actually uses computer-planned finely collimated gamma-rays that are precisely focused at the target in the brain without affecting the surrounding healthy tissue. MRIs are used to localise the target tissue before the neurosurgeon plans on dosage and positioning of the rays.

The entire treatment usually takes about one to three hours, depending on the size and configuration of the targeted tumour. Such treatment can be performed as an outpatient surgery procedure and the patient can return home the same day after treatment.

Written by Charmaine Ng

This article is based on a Continuing Medical Education seminar organised by Parkway Cancer Centre.

POSTED IN Cancer Treatments
TAGS continuing medical education (CME), elekta, gamma knife, new ways to treat cancer, radiotherapy (radiation therapy), varian truebeam