St. Luke's Cancer Center in Bethlehem, Pa., is now offering cancer patients ultra-precise image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) treatments which use real-time imaging to accurately target tumors. The Center's new radiotherapy system from Varian Medical Systems combines imaging and treatment on a single machine, facilitating fast and accurate adaptive radiotherapy.
St. Luke's was the first treatment center in Pennsylvania to install and utilize Varian's new On-Board Imager device, a fully robotic Dynamic Targeting IGRT system for tracking tumor locations and positioning patients. Doctors at St. Luke's have treated 60 patients using this new technology since launching their IGRT program in May 2005. It is designed to treat patients with cancers of the prostate, head and neck, spine, abdomen and pelvic areas.
"The On-Board Imager makes it possible for us to realize the full potential of a precise treatment delivery technique like intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)," said Nimisha Deb, MD, chief of radiation oncology at St. Luke's. "With IMRT, we shape the radiation beam so that it closely matches the shape of the tumor. Now, by adding IGRT, we can be confident that the beam will be perfectly lined up with the intended target at the time of daily treatment. This means that, in some cases, we can reduce our margins around the tumor, deliver higher doses to the tumor, and spare more of the surrounding healthy tissues. That, in turn, increases the likelihood of controlling the cancer and reducing complication rates."