In partnership with Alliance HealthCare Services, the Department of Radiation Oncology at Rush now offers enhanced stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy services using a dedicated linear accelerator installed this spring in the Woman's Board Center for Radiation Therapy.
The machine, called TrueBeam STx, provides a rare opportunity to combine decreased risk with enhanced therapeutic benefit: Stereotactic radiotherapeutic management involves targeting appropriately selected tumors with one to five radiotherapy treatments that combine very large individual doses with levels of precision that greatly reduce the risk of damage to normal tissues and increase the likelihood of controlling the targeted tumor.
"TrueBeam can be a good option for patients with inoperable or surgically complex tumors, as well as those seeking an alternative to conventional cancer surgery or more conventionally fractionated and delivered radiation therapy," says Aidnag Diaz, MD, associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and medical director of the new program, called Rush Radiosurgery.
Chosen over other platforms for its versatility, speed and precision, TrueBeam can be used to treat tumors virtually anywhere in the body, as well as certain other conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia and arteriovenous malformations of the brain.
Increased Precision in Less Time
During treatment, the TrueBeam machine rotates around the patient to deliver radiation with a beam aimed directly at the tumor site and sculpted to match the 3D shape of the tumor. To protect surrounding tissue and critical organs, it performs accuracy checks measured in increments of less than a millimeter every 10 milliseconds throughout each treatment session.
These sessions last about one-third of the time that previous machines took to deliver the same dose of radiation, offering improved patient comfort and, as a result, improved safety. "With a treatment that takes 20 minutes instead of an hour, there is less statistical chance that the patient will move, shifting the intended target," Diaz notes. Moreover, the system uses advanced imaging and mathematical models to predict and respond to the involuntary movements of internal organs.
"With this kind of precision, tissues next to the tumor are not affected," Diaz says. "We can kill a tumor in the brain with no sensory or motor deficits; a tumor in the lung without damaging the bronchi or esophagus; a tumor in the spine without damaging the spinal cord. TrueBeam exemplifies our mission to provide patients state-of-the-art cancer treatment options and the highest quality of care."