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Clinicians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System First in World to Use "Triggered Imaging" Technology From Varian Medical Systems
Date:11/21/2011

ow us to monitor tumor position in real time and intervene if a change in patient respiratory pattern causes a shift.  The enhanced precision could potentially increase tumor control and decrease the amount of surrounding healthy lung tissues exposed to the beam."

"The IMR tool offers us a way of verifying that our gating strategy remains valid throughout an entire treatment," added Chris Dobelbower, M.D., Ph.D., radiation oncologist at UAB.  "It also gives us the ability to hold the beam should the target wander from isocenter if the patient's breathing pattern were to change due to a cough or a sneeze, or other interference. Those events did not happen with our first patient, so no treatment interruptions were necessary."

To utilize IMR during the treatment for lung cancer, Dr. Dobelbower collaborated with thoracic surgeon Douglas J. Minnich, M.D., assistant professor at UAB Healthcare, who placed a set of radio-opaque fiducial markers into the lung tumor using electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy—an approach that employs three-dimensional CT imaging to guide the procedure.  These markers made it possible to see the tumor's location within the surrounding healthy tissues using X-ray images generated during treatment.  

"IMR makes it possible to complete lung cancer treatments with a high level of precision and confidence that you're treating the area you want to treat," Dr. Minnich said.  "Rather than imaging at the beginning of treatment and then doing your best to account for respiratory motion, IMR allows you to actually watch the tumor and monitor your targeting as the treatment proceeds."

According to Dr. Dobelbower, the ability to generate an image with every breath, identify when a targeted tumor has shifted, stop a treatment, and reposition the patient makes a new level of precision feasible.  "This was previously only possible by a time-consuming and cumbersome process of interrupting t
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SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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