ASTRO 07 Preview
‘Treating Cancer While Preserving Quality of Life’

Some 12,000 attendees are expected to fill the Los Angeles Convention Center for ASTRO’s 49th Annual Meeting, Oct. 28 –Nov. 1. This year’s theme, “Treating Cancer While Preserving Quality of Life,” embraces all aspects of oncologic care.

Educational opportunities abound at the premier scientific meeting in radiation oncology. Nearly 1,300 abstracts are being presented in plenary sessions, oral presentations, poster discussion sessions and poster viewings. Additionally, more than 260 exhibitors are showcasing the latest in technology and product development in cancer treatment and care.

Among the highlights at ASTRO’s 49th Annual Meeting is the Presidential Course on Sunday, Oct. 28, titled “Organ and Function Preservation in the Management of Cancer.” The program explains innovative approaches to function preservation in patients with gastrointestinal, lung, prostate and head and neck cancers, as well as musculoskeletal and spine tumors.

On Monday, Oct. 29, healthcare policy expert Victor Fuchs, MA, PhD, Stanford University, delivers the conference’s first keynote address, “Better than Band-Aids: America Needs Comprehensive Healthcare Reform.”

David Sidransky, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, gives Wednesday’s keynote presentation, “Integration of Molecular Diagnostic Approaches in Cancer from Bench to Bedside.” Sidransky is a professor of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery, oncology, pathology, cellular and molecular medicine and urology—as well as the director of Head and Neck Cancer Research at Hopkins and principal investigator, Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer SPORE.

ASTRO’S pre-conference program on Saturday, Oct. 27, features the eASTRO Computer Learning Lab where attendees have the opportunity to learn from leading contouring experts in the fields of head and neck cancers, GYN cancers, 4D therapy and prostate cancer.

Vendor Highlights

BrainLab (Booth 223) is featuring its Exac Trac X-Ray 6D image-guided radiation therapy system which enables physicians to pinpoint tumors with increased accuracy and treat a wide variety of indications, including in the prostate, lung, liver and spine. BrainLab technology uses high-resolution, low-dose x-rays, automatically corrects any patient set-up errors and tracts patient movement throughout the procedures.

Carestream PACS features real-time 3D capabilities.
Carestream Health (Booth 1219) is demonstrating advanced features of its Kodak Carestream PACS that include a new image fusion application for PET/CT imaging and enhancements to native real-time 3D capabilities. The company is exhibiting its Kodak 2000RT CR Plus, a computed radiography system that supports multiple treatment rooms and multiple linear accelerators and simulation devises. The Kodak Radiation Oncology Beam Dosimetry Package allows physicists to perform a wide range of machine, beam and IMRT QA imaging along with the CR platform’s ability to capture portal localization, verification and simulation images required for radiation therapy patients. 

CMS (Booth 2219) is showcasing its comprehensive 3D and IMRT treatment planning platform, XiO, which combines the latest tools and robust dose calculation algorithms with a user-friendly interface. XiO’s integrated planning capabilities support a range of treatment modalities, including 3D, MLC-based IMRT (both sliding window and step-and-shoot), solid compensator-based IMRT, brachytherapy, and proton therapy. XiO leverages the speed and performance capabilities of the Linux operating system and the processing power of dual Intel processors to deliver superior 3D image rendering, real-time image manipulation, and rapid calculation times. XiO supports proton as well as conventional photon and electron planning.

PET/CT image of a tumor of the colon acquired with the GE Discovery VCT.
GE Healthcare (Booth 909) is exhibiting the LightSpeed RT 16 featuring wide-bore capacities including thin, high-resolution multidetector imaging, 4D retrospective respiratory gathering capability and advanced oncology applications. Discovery VCT for PET/CT provides a complete set of clinical applications to help physicians provide accurate disease diagnosis, staging, treatment planning and follow up. PET VCAR offers workflow enhancements for single- and multi-exam review. AdvantageSim MD featuring Advantage 4D, helps clinicians to plan in 4D, utilize multiple modalities simultaneously and combine 4D and multi-modality simulation together. The company’s Signa HD MR scanner for head, neck, spine and soft tissue tumors, available in 1.5T or 3.0T, also will be showcased. 

Medical Intelligence (Booth 1701) an Elekta company, is launching the new HexaPOD evo RT System and showcasing the robotic patient-positioning platform’s latest features. HexaPOD evo CouchTop provides vision-guided patient positioning by incorporating the well-known features of the precursor HexaPOD CouchTop with improved patient access and clearance aperture. A reduction in the height of the HexaPOD evo CouchTop assists in patient loading and unloading (the total height is 19.2 c.m/7.6 inches of which the height of the existing couchtop should be deducted).

Breast images on the Philips Pinnacle3 workstation with Tumor Localization.
Philips Medical Systems (Booth 1919) is showcasing its newly released Pinnacle3 workstation, System 810, equipped with AMD Opteron CPUs, Sun’s Solaris 10 operating system and custom hardware. Pinnacle3 Web Publishing is a work-in-progress, web-based departmental solution for radiation oncology plan review and approval. Pinnacle3 Toolbox Version 8.0h includes physics modeling tools to help physicists determine that a dose algorithm is accurate and precise. Tumor Localization, designed for fast and simple CT tumor volume localization, includes exclusive features for viewing respiratory correlated CT datasets and the analyzing motion of the target and surrounding anatomy.

Siemens Medical Solutions (Booth 1419) is exhibiting CTVision, which integrates a linear accelerator and a CT gantry that travels along rails (CT-on-rails). The MVision Megavoltage Cone Beam Imaging Package is a volumetric in-line target imaging solution that employs the existing treatment beam. Offered on all Siemens linear accelerators, MVision provides the 3D soft-tissue contrast necessary for many disease sites. Siemens solutions are complemented by the syngo Suite for Oncology, a comprehensive software solution that unites the clinical team with tools and data. Siemens also is demonstrating syngo TrueD, which allows users to simultaneously fuse and compare up to three PET/CT and SPECT/CT studies.

The Smart Segmentation feature of Varian’s Eclipse automatically identifies organs and structures in the male pelvis in less than 45 seconds.
Varian Medical Systems (Booth 419) is highlighting its “smart” radiotherapy treatment planning tool, the new Smart Segmentation feature, which received 501(k) clearance in August and has been added to Varian’s Eclipse treatment planning product. As the world’s first fully automatic tool that uses intelligent software to identify and outline organs and other structures within diagnostic images of the thorax and male pelvis, it can automatically identify all of the structures of interest in less than 45 seconds. Varian’s Eclipse treat-ment planning product enables clinicians to plan a wide array of radiation therapy treatments including IMRT, IGRT, stereotactic radiosurgery, brachytherapy and proton therapy.

Vidar Systems Corporation (Booth 1206) is displaying several enhancements to its DosimetryPRO Advantage x-ray film digitizer for radiation therapy applications. They include: USB connectivity; RoHS compliance (all components in the DosimetryPRO Advantage meet the new European Union standards for lead-free electronics); a Red LED version for use with International Specialty Products EBT film (full release of the DosimetryPRO Advantage with Red LED is planned for early 2008); and new removable LED lighting system (the previous fluorescent lamp design has been replaced with an LED cartridge lighting system for longer lamp life).

Session Highlights
Monday, Oct. 29
7:15 a.m. Transitioning from 3D IMRT to 4D IMRT and the Role of Image-guidance
10:15 a.m. Image-guided Adaptive Radiation Therapy
3:45 p.m. On Board Imaging: Challenges and Future Directions
Tuesday, Oct. 30
11:15 a.m. Image Registration/IMRT Planning and Delivery
1:45 p.m. Biological Imaging / Clinical Outcomes Modeling
3:30 p.m. Practical Challenges to Incorporating Biological Imaging Modalities into RT Planning
Wednesday, Oct. 31
7:15 a.m. Image-guided Brachytherapy
7:15 a.m. IGRT – 4D Approaches
1:00 p.m. Multi-modality and 4D Imaging
2:45 p.m. ASTRO/SNM – Molecular Imaging for IMRT/IGRT
Thursday, Nov. 1
7:15 a.m. Advances in CT and PET Imaging for Radiation Treatment Planning
9:00 a.m. Nanotechnology: Imaging and Treatment
Check onsite listings at for session locations.