2020 Spring ASTROnews

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Advances in medical technology help to personalize treatment


While radiotherapy has been around since the early 1900s, advances in medical technology and computer science — such as linear accelerators, imaging technologies, diagnostic devices and sophisticated hardware and software — have made this form of treatment extremely personalized and highly effective. Today, doctors can deliver radiation beams with sub-millimeter precision to target tumors, and can change the size, shape, direction and strength of treatment beams to individualize treatment to each patient. This means that doctors can carefully plan and precisely deliver radiation to the tumor while minimizing healthy tissue exposure and side effects.
Advancements in patient safety have come about through enhancements in treatment planning, imaging and treatment delivery.
Treatment Planning
Improvements in treatment planning software combining multi-modality image fusion and registration with proprietary deformation algorithm, contouring tools, side-by-side plan comparison and summation capability and accurate dose computation, enable clinicians to create more accurate treatment plans. Additionally, tools have been introduced to support the efficient optimization of treatment plans without compromising their quality and allowing the creation of multiple plans in the same day.
Further, software is available that accelerates and automates the re-planning process to make re-treatment of a previously irradiated area more efficient for practices and more effective for patients.
New imaging technologies are benefiting radiotherapy by enabling doctors to identify tumors at an earlier stage when they are smaller. Other imaging technologies allow doctors to target tumors more precisely during treatment, while better sparing surroundings organs, which results in fewer side effects.
Treatment Delivery
AI-driven automatic motion synchronization and adaptation capabilities enable the delivery of highly accurate radiation dose to tumors that move as a result of bodily processes, including respiration and digestion, as well as patient movement. This personalized, adaptive delivery can help to improve clinical outcomes and reduce side effects.
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