The TomoTherapy Hi-Art system is one of the most advanced and versatile radiation therapy systems commercially available for the treatment of a wide variety of cancers. Unlike traditional radiation therapy equipment, the Hi-Art system’s treatment delivery unit doubles as an on-board CT scanner that allows true CT images of a patient’s anatomy to be created with the same physical equipment next used to treat the patient, thereby bringing clinicians unprecedented confidence that tumors will receive their intended dosage from one day to the next.
The process the patient will follow is:
Planning. Before beginning a TomoTherapy treatment, the doctor uses 3D images from a combination of scanning technologies (such as CT and MRI) and special software to establish the precise contours for each treatment volume (tumor) and any regions at risk (sensitive organs or structures). The doctor then decides how much radiation the tumor should receive, as well as acceptable levels for surrounding structures. The Hi·Art treatment system calculates the appropriate pattern, position and intensity of the radiation beam to be delivered, to match the doctor’s prescription as closely as possible.
Patient positioning. As both a treatment delivery machine and a CT scanner, the Hi-Art system allows doctors to take a CT scan just before each treatment. With the scan, they can verify the position of the tumor and, if necessary, adjust the patient’s position to help make sure radiation is directed right where it should be.
Continuous 360º treatment delivery. The Hi·Art treatment system delivers intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with a helical (spiral) delivery pattern. Photon radiation is produced by a linear accelerator (or linac for short), which travels in multiple circles around the patient and moves in unison with a device called a multi-leaf collimator, or MLC. Meanwhile, the couch is also moving—guiding the patient slowly through the center of the ring. Each time the linac makes a loop around the patient it directs a unique, optimized set of radiation beamlets at the tumor. Quite literally, the Tomo process runs rings around cancer.
To find out if you are a candidate for TomoTherapy, talk to your physician about your options, or call the St. Elizabeth Hospital Cancer Center at (920) 738-2184.