Image-guided radiation therapy used for treating cancer

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Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is being used to treat cancer at UK-based Clatterbridge Oncology Center located in Liverpool. The treatment is being performed using a robotic imaging device called On Board Imager from Varian Medical Systems

On Board Imager is a digital imaging system that is mounted on the treatment machine using robotically controlled arms which operate along three axes of motion for more precise, effectiveness cancer treatments. It allows doctors to track and adjust for changes in tumor positions more accurately and helps reduce the exposure of healthy tissue to radiation. Treatments can also be done by clinical staff within a timeline that is normal for patients undergoing treatment, Varian said.

The clinicians at Clatterbridge will use the device on as many as 20 prostate and head and neck cancer patients per day, a number that is estimated to eventually increase. Other planned future uses include for positioning patients for all IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) treatments, and for respiratory gating.

Other benefits of the technology include granting doctors the ability to generate x-ray images that can be compared with CT scans and DRR (digitally reconstructed radiograph) images from the treatment plan which enables radiographers to verify the tumor location while the patient is in the treatment position, Varian said.