Cancer Patients To Get Next Generation Of Radiation Treatment

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Next Generation Of Radiation Therapy

Cancer patients at Beaumont Hospitals are the first in the world to be treated with the next generation of radiation therapy that is painless, faster, more accurate and precise than other treatments.

Beaumont doctors and physicists invented and patented the new technology, Omnibeam. The $3.3-million machine is manufactured in England by Elekta, which is headquartered in Stockholm. The first patient was treated on Sept. 10.

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The painless treatment takes about 20 minutes and requires no implants or invasive procedures to prepare for therapy. It can be used to treat cancer of the breast; prostate; lungs; and head and neck, as well as other cancers. It is specially designed for the treatment of tumors deep within the body.

Omnibeam, a robotic technology, uses highly accurate, real-time CT imaging that automatically adjusts the radiation field during treatment to account for a patient's external movements - and the natural repositioning of internal organs - from day to day or even moment to moment. Omnibeam also uses robotic technology to adjust the treatment table on which a patient lies to provide pinpoint accuracy of treatment. Adjusting the radiation field and treatment table means the radiation treatment is precisely targeted to kill cancer cells, destroying them without harming surrounding healthy tissue or organs. The patient has better cancer control and fewer undesirable side effects as a result.

"Omnibeam is a dramatic new clinical advance in radiation therapy for cancer. The combination of improved imaging coupled with robotic technology is vastly better than other radiation machines for cancer therapy," says Alvaro Martinez, M.D., corporate chairman of Radiation Oncology for Beaumont Hospitals. "It uses advanced imaging technology, is faster, can treat from very small to very large, irregularly shaped tumors and does not require placement of metal implants as with other therapies. Its robotic component tracks a patient's movements on a real-time basis and corrects the treatment accordingly."

Dr. Martinez was inspired to "marry" CT imaging with a medical linear accelerator when, while attending a medical symposium in Dearborn, he stumbled upon a meeting of Ford Motor Company automotive engineers who were using imaging to detect defects in engine blocks. It took more than five years for him and his team to adapt and perfect the auto technology for cancer radiation treatment.

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