Press Release Seattle, WA and Atlanta, GA – July 30, 2008 A patient with pancreatic cancer recently became the first person in the United States to receive treatment using Elekta VMAT (Volumetric intensity Modulated Arc Therapy) at Seattle's Swedish Cancer Institute. This revolutionary new technology dramatically decreases treatment times – delivering a higher dose to the tumor target without compromising coverage and patient safety.
From the patient's perspective, faster treatment times often mean improved comfort, which makes it easier to remain still during treatment and increases the likelihood of delivering radiation beams more accurately and safely. From the physician's perspective, the reduction in treatment time makes it much easier to accurately target the tumor and the improved dose sparing offers new options to either increase the cancer-killing dose to a tumor or reduce side effects and therefore potentially improve outcomes.
David Shepard, director of Medical Physics at Swedish Cancer Institute, says, “The use of Elekta VMAT allowed us to reduce our patient’s delivery time by half, relative to a conventional IMRT delivery. The total treatment time was less than 10 minutes, including Cone Beam CT image guidance. More importantly, we were able to reduce the dose to surrounding sensitive structures such as the spinal cord, left and right kidneys and the liver.”
Shepard is presenting his work on VMAT at the Elekta VMAT Consortium meeting during the 2008 American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) annual meeting along with other U.S. and international hospitals who have either started or plan to start a VMAT clinical program.
Vivek Mehta, M.D., director of the Center for Advanced Targeted Radiation Therapies at the Swedish Cancer Institute, emphasizes, “VMAT technology will enable us to design treatment approaches that are more aggressive in killing cancer cells and have fewer side effects.”
Dr. Mehta says the implementation of Elekta VMAT at Swedish Cancer Institute has advanced the program’s overall mission. “By introducing VMAT technology today, we have continued to build on the Swedish Cancer Institute’s rich tradition of innovation in cancer care. We were among the first to begin using Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) utilizing cone Beam CT technology to improve setup accuracy and treatment precision, and now we’ve begun treating with VMAT. As the largest and most comprehensive cancer treatment program in the Pacific Northwest, improving patient care is our mission and we work daily to make that a reality.”
The speed and precision of Elekta VMAT is made possible by simultaneous manipulation of the gantry position and gantry speed, the multileaf collimator leaves, the dose rate and the collimator angle, all while the radiation beam is on. In addition, Elekta VMAT allows the flexibility of one arc, two arcs, sub-arc or a combination.
To ensure the accuracy of this highly conformal treatment, Elekta VMAT uses daily ultra low dose 3D volumetric imaging via Elekta VolumeView™. VolumeView imaging is accomplished in under two minutes, complementing the speed of treatments. For additional information, visit www.elekta.com/vmat.