Respiratory and cardiac motions have been found to displace and deform tumors in the lung and other organs. Because of this, radiation oncologists must expand the margin during radiotherapy, and consequently a large volume of healthy tissue is irradiated, and critical organs adjacent to the tumor are sometimes difficult to spare.
In an effort to shrink that margin, Jefferson researchers developed a new, robotic technique that better tracks tumor motion to deliver more precise radiation.
Here, the researchers applied a new control system (software and hardware) and robotic technology to existing treatment couches used for radiation therapy to determine the tracking technology's feasibility in a clinical setting.
They found the technology can be integrated onto treatment couches and validated the tumor tracking system capabilities to follow desired trajectories. When the active tracking system was applied, irradiated planning target volume (the area set for treatment) was 20 to 30 percent less for medium size tumors and more than 50 percent for small size tumors.
"The use of tumor tracking technology during radiotherapy treatment for lung cancer would result in significant reduction in dose to critical organs and tissue, potentially decreasing the probability or severity of side effects, and thus improving cancer treatments," Dr. Yu said.
Based on these results, it can be hypothesized that clinical implementation of real-time tracking is feasible for achieving potentially improved patient outcome.
"With this new technique, it shrinks the margin, and radiation oncologists would be able to administer more radiation and faster to the tumor than conventional methods," said Adam P. Dicker, M.D, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University. "And a
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Thomas Jefferson University