Researchers to test 4D CT’s potential for guiding tissue-sparing radiation therapy

A proposed clinical trial exploring the ability of 4D CT to identify healthy lung tissue that can be spared during cancer radiotherapy has received NIH funding.  

News of the trial’s start comes from the University of Colorado’s Colorado Cancer Center, which will collaborate on the investigation with the University of Texas and Beaumont Health in Michigan, which is affiliated with Oakland University.

The Colorado school points out that 4D CT is already accepted as the standard of care for radiation oncologists planning therapy that accounts for the motion of breathing during treatments.

The method to be investigated will take the 4D imaging data and apply algorithms that calculate function in discrete sections of the affected lung, allowing the physician to leave most good tissue intact and so improve post-therapy quality of life.

Researchers plan to enroll 70 patients and conclude the trial in three years.

“We used to treat the lungs as a homogenous organ, as if all areas were equally important. Now we know that’s not true—there’s regionally variant function,” Yevgeniy Vinogradskiy, PhD, a Colorado Cancer Center investigator, told a U of C blogger.

Vinogradskiy says one of the most exciting aspects of the new approach is that it wouldn’t burden patients with additional procedures.

“All of the lung function information used to optimize the radiation treatment plan comes from imaging that is already acquired.”