The Department is equipped with “Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)” equipment – ARTISTE from Siemens.
IGRT combines the traditional radiation treatment with a simultaneous cone beam CT scan to allow for greater precision and accuracy when targeting and treating tumors.
Frequent two and three-dimensional images are taken during a course of radiation treatment, to ensure that the treatment volume is being accurately targeted. The images are taken after the patient is set up for treatment. Once the image is acquired it automatically fuses with the planning CT. Upon fusion of the two images sophisticated software is able to visualize whether or not the treatment volume is off target from the planned target and make the necessary adjustments to ensure accurate treatment.
In standard Radiation Therapy, the area at risk is targeted and a margin is added around it to allow for changes in the patient’s position and potential movement of the target area. Using IGRT, margins can be minimized, thus sparing the normal tissue that does not otherwise need to be treated.
IGRT has opened the door to true four dimensional (4D) radiation treatment. In addition to dealing with the three dimensions of space, IGRT deals more effectively with the issue of tumor motion in time – the fourth dimension using 4D imaging, 4D simulation, 4D treatment planning, 4D treatment delivery and 4D verification. The active breathing control is such a device. Because inhaling and exhaling can move organs as we breathe, it may be difficult to aim radiation at a tumor site without involving nearby organs. This is particularly so in the abdomen and chest areas. An active breathing control device spares nearby organs unnecessary radiation and provides clinicians with an accurate method for delivering radiation.