ASTRO 2005 Preview
The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) is gathering for its annual meeting this month in Denver (Oct. 16-20) and looking to draw as many as 10,000 radiation oncology professionals from the world over. Attendees will see a plethora of new products and technologies at the meeting, along with an abundance of educational programs covering such topics as investigational and experimental therapeutics, intensity modulated radiation therapy, functional imaging, radiation treatment planning, alternative fractionation, and molecular and radiation biology. Here is a selection of products, listed in alphabetical order by vendor.

Cedara Software
(Booth #1475) is showcasing an oncology suite targeted specifically towards quantitative tumor measurements and therapeutic processes. Among the OEM solutions showcased will be technologies for tumor board review, image management, PET/CT fusion, image guided radiotherapy, therapy response assessment for personalized treatment planning, patient follow-up management and support for longitudinal studies.

(Booth #1116) is featuring its multi-media dry imager Horizon, which is designed to simplify imaging and improve workflow for oncology at a total lower cost of ownership.
Horizon incorporates a film printer, a paper printer and a color printer into one medical imager with laser quality images but at direct thermal prices. Printing 14-by-17-inch and 8-by-10-inch blue and clear film, the imager is suited for DR and portal imaging requirements.  The imager weighs less than 70 pounds and takes up less than two feet of desk space.

Horizon can help facilities with the transition to reduced film usage with Codonics' DirectVista Paper. This photo-weight paper can be used instead of a lightbox, and provides up to 70 percent savings over film.

Eastman Kodak Co. (Booth #1327) is showcasing its Radiation Oncology Beam Dosimetry Package. This software on the KODAK 2000RT CR Plus System allows physicists to perform a wide range of beam and IMRT QA procedures - along with the platform's existing ability to capture portal localization, verification and simulation images required for radiation therapy patients. 

A software upgrade for the 2000RT CR Plus also is available. New features include:
  • DICOM RT Support, which allows the smooth transfer and exchange of information with oncology image management systems and facilitates communication with other DICOM-compatible planning systems and imaging modalities;
  • Ability to import treatment planning system DRR images for easy side-by-side comparison with port images;
  • Remote annotation allows oncologists to make comments at a remote workstation and save modified images to the database;
  • Powerful search capabilities facilitate the creation of a worklist to improve productivity at sites that do not have their own image management system.  

Elekta (Booth #1337) is debuting at ASTRO the next generation of Elekta Synergy with new software workflow tools for 4D Adaptive IGRT (image guided radiation therapy). The improvements in cone-beam image quality and almost instantaneous reconstruction of large volumetric images indicate the company's system can fit into normal radiation oncology treatment times.

Elekta provides customers the power to routinely apply all three IGRT imaging modes to address complex inter- and intra-fraction motion in an integrated platform, the Elekta Synergy. Components include:
  • PlanarView for quick orthogonal snapshots of patient anatomy;
  • MotionView provides fluoroscopic-like, real-time monitoring of high contrast tumors or internal organs in order; and
  • VolumeView allows for very high-resolution volumetric images with more than 25cm of anatomy visible in the cranial/caudal direction for highly precise 3D anatomic alignment. 

Huestis Medical (Booth #701) is showcasing its IMRT delivery system workstation that includes the Compu•cutter and Compu•former. The company has developed the system for radiotherapy teams who require accuracy, dependability and affordability. The system uses digitized files to cut shielding block molds with ± 1mm accuracy.

Huestis Medical also will be displaying the Styro•former, radiotherapy block cutters for precision shielding which features a handheld tracing stylus allows quick radiograph outlining to provide a smooth and efficient block cutting procedure.

Finally, the company is showing its Flexi•holder x-ray cassette holders which are built to reduce retakes caused by improper cassette positioning. Huestis' freestanding model features an extra wide base for maximum stability. It allows accurate radiographs to be taken from virtually any angle from floor level to 71 inches+ (180 cm) high, among other features. Freestanding and tabletop models accept virtually all cassettes.

IMPAC Medical Systems (Booth #1351) is unveiling the successor to its popular Multi-ACCESS system, MOSAIQ, along with two additional tools to help cancer programs achieve a high IQ (Integration Quotient).

EMR-based, vendor independent image-guided treatment management MOSAIQ is an image-enabled, electronic medical record designed specifically for oncology that can be configured to provide all the functionality found in the Multi-ACCESS product suite - radiation oncology charting and device connectivity, chemotherapy charting and full practice management capability; but MOSAIQ is built upon on an entirely new platform that includes a Microsoft database and a flexible user interface which is user-configurable.

The MOSAIQ image-enabled EMR also provides the foundation for IMPAC's image-guided treatment management (IGTM) solution.
IMPAC also is showcasing ANALYTIQ, the company's new data visualization and analysis tool as well as STRATEGIQ, a new line of consultation services designed to help cancer centers achieve.

Philips Medical Systems (Booth #1637) is featuring its Brilliance CT Big Bore Oncology configuration. The scanner is designed specifically for radiation treatment planning, and is in use at luminary clinical sites around the world.  

The Brilliance Big Bore offers a 60cm scan true field of view, providing accuracy in geometry and superior uniformity that is otherwise lost outside this field of view. The 60cm true scan field of view and 24 mm coverage with every rotation allows clinicians to measure body mass and more accurately target the location and size of tumors. This increased visualization improves accuracy in delivering targeted therapy to tumors and also reduces harm to surrounding healthy tissue. The larger coverage area is designed to improve the ability to isolate the area of treatment without being hindered by patient position or tumor location.
In addition, Philips CT localization (CT L.O.C.) application is found directly on the console, allowing clinicians to localize the tumor and mark the patient for therapy delivery without leaving the console. 

Working with its customers, Philips also has developed the new correlated respiratory imaging which allows the user to track a patient's breathing to visualize tumor motion to minimize motion artifacts, the company said.

Siemens Medical Solutions (Booth #1617) is highlighting its Oncology Workflow Solutions at ASTRO which combine imaging and radiation therapy technologies with information technologies (IT) aimed at assisting oncology caregivers with both clinical and administrative challenges and to improve outcomes.

Siemens is showcasing its multidisciplinary imaging and therapy approach to oncology that is constructed to enable tangible, measurable results, including increased throughput and efficiency, greater physician and patient satisfaction, optimized cycle time, and the elimination
of errors. The company's advances in Adaptive Radiation Therapy (ART) will be demonstrated through work with international clinical collaborators over the last year. Specific components of that the company will highlight include:
  • The ONCOR linear accelerator;
  • PRIMATOM System that provides 3D position determination for target volumes and organs at risk via volumetric image comparison;
  • The latest innovations in ART systems, including two works-in-progress, the Megavoltage (MV) Cone Beam imaging, and the ARTISTE integrated dose-guided radiation therapy solution, and the 550 TxT Treatment Table;
  • KonRad inverse planning system for intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT);
  • COHERENCE Oncology Workspaces;
  • The biograph PET/CT family with HI-REZ technology; and
  • SOMATOM Sensation Open for image-guided interventional procedures, and cancer and routine diagnostic CT imaging

Thinking Systems (Booth # 565) is showcasing at ASTRO its PET-CT archiving, workstation and web server for fusion and image co-registration. The company's systems are vendor neutral. The workstations provide technologies such as fusion of co-registered and non-registered images, current/previous study comparisons and 3D ROI analysis. Thinking Systems' web technology provides fusion over the web in real time. Specific products on display will include: ThinkingArchive - PACS archive server for PET-CT; MDStation - PACS workstation for PET-CT fusion; ThinkingWeb - thin-client based PACS web server for PET-CT fusion; and ThinkingReg - co-registration software for registering independently acquired PET, CT, and MR images.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (TAMS; Booth #1037) is demonstrating its Aquilion LB, a large bore, multislice CT scanner which has now received FDA marketing clearance.
The Aquilion LB multislice CT scanner is designed to solve one of the main challenges faced in CT simulation: patient positioning. Combining a bore opening of 90 cm and a scanning field of view of 70cm, the Aquilion LB makes it possible to accurately scan patients of all sizes in various positions. The company will demonstrate how previously difficult to achieve positions for CT simulation of breast cancer patients can now be achieved using the Aquilion LB. The targeted features of Toshiba's new Large Bore CT simulator will better assist oncologists in the optimization of treatment planning anywhere in the body.

Varian Medical Systems (Booth #247/614) is highlighting its Dynamic Adaptive Radiotherapy (DART) system for personalized cancer care. DART offers an automated and integrated way of adapting radiotherapy treatment plans based on the better imaging afforded by IGRT. DART is made possible by the technological convergence of image guidance tools, integrated image and data management, sophisticated planning capabilities such as auto-segmentation and image registration, and IMRT-enabled treatment delivery in a single system.

Varian also is showcasing its On Board Imager device for IGRT. The addition of kV Cone Beam CT (CBCT) functionality to the system enables fine-tuning patient positioning at the moment of treatment, and augments the image guidance toolkit so that it now encompasses kV and MV radiographic, kV fluoroscopic, and kV Cone Beam CT imaging. In CBCT imaging mode, the imager is rotated once around the patient to quickly acquire a high-quality, low dose 3D image of the tumor and surrounding anatomy.

Also at ASTRO, the company is demonstrating its Trilogy and Clinac linear accelerators, its Acuity treatment planning capabilities and the latest versions of its treatment planning, imaging and information management software.

VIDAR Systems Corp. (Booth #1314) is displaying its line of award-winning digitizers, the DosimetryPRO Advantage.

The DosimetryPRO Advantage delivers the consistency and repeatability required by radiation film dosimetry, quality assurance, and IMRT. This repeatability is important for effective treatment, as well as for quality assurance and record keeping in the delivery of radiation therapy to patients. The digitizer provides high quality spatial and contrast resolution, allowing oncologists, physicists, and dosimetrists to be confident that the density values the system receives from the digitizer are an exact representation of the original film. It is the only digitizer with a 32-bit data path outputting to 16 bits of grayscale, providing radiation physicists and oncologists with high-resolution, reproducible analyses of radiation treatment beams used for cancer therapy.

The DosimetryPRO Advantage also has an optical density (OD) range of 0 to 4.00 and 65,535 shades of gray, VIDAR said.