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News & Trends - Medical Technology

Technical innovation leads to paradigm shift in radiotherapy at Peter Mac

Health Industry Hub | November 15, 2021 |
[Total: 2    Average: 4.5/5]

MedTech News: New body-tracking technology is doing away with the need for tattoos on patients receiving radiotherapy for cancer care.

The latest technology now operational on one of Peter Mac’s radiotherapy treatment machines, instead, tracks thousands of existing points on the patient’s skin. Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT), also known as tattoo-free radiation therapy, uses advanced camera technology to facilitate 3D tracking of the skin’s surface during set-up and treatment.

Prior to this new technology, cancer patients received permanent tattoo marks through traditional radiation therapy to ensure treatment was delivered to a precise location. For patients these dots can be a permanent reminder of their cancer.

Radiotherapy Clinical Coordinator, Kenton Thompson, said “These act as virtual tattoos and allow for real-time, accurate tracking of the patient position during setup and radiotherapy. This technology allows us to track and understand, with pinpoint accuracy, where the patient is positioned on our linac treatment couch, not just from day to day but also whilst each treatment is being delivered.”

Not only does it do away with the need for tattoos, the AlignRT Advance Surface Guided Radiation Therapy system, made by Vision RT, speeds up the process of positioning patients for treatment. And if the patient moves, the technology will pause treatment and alert a radiation therapist.

Peter Mac’s Director of Radiotherapy Nilgun Touma said this was a “major step forward for the patients’ experience” and praised the skilled workforce that made it possible.

“Our large team of radiation therapists at Peter Mac work hard to improve outcomes for our patients,” Ms Touma said.

“They are continually learning and implementing new technologies and techniques to improve the patient experience.”

In a recent review article, the authors said “SGRT was developed initially as a tool to replace lasers and skin marks for patient positioning. However, the volume of information rich data provided by SGRT has been harnessed by researchers and vendors to develop it into a powerful tool that could affect patient safety, treatment quality, motion management, risk surveillance and management, as well as to potentially provide decision support in radiotherapy.”

Radiotherapy tattoos will still be required on other treatment machines at Peter Mac, however, there are plans to introduce AlignRT across all five Peter Mac campuses, expanding the access to this technology.

Peter Mac also has an ongoing research collaboration with Vision RT looking at how the technology can be used to improve treatment of paediatric patients and people with brain tumours.


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