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Radiation therapy gets more targeted and personalized

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | September 18, 2017
Rad Oncology Radiation Therapy
From the September 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The software, which Gaccione calls a “game-changing solution” for managing cancer treatment, provides automated processes and analytics to help clinicians make decisions that can improve clinical outcomes and financial performance and increase productivity.

“Workflows in radiation therapy are continuously improving, resulting in better integration and optimization with treatment systems,” Gaccione says. “This enables higher efficiency and quality of care. With advanced software systems, such as Elekta's MOSAIQ Oncology Analytics, other areas of the cancer management ecosystem can be integrated with radiation therapy, resulting in improved workflow and efficiency.”

Shrinking systems
Radiotherapy systems for certain cancers are also getting smaller.

Xstrahl recently submitted for FDA 510(k) clearance for an 80-kV continuous wave X-ray system for treating skin cancer. The low-cost system is mobile and doesn’t need as much radiation shielding as larger systems.

The smallest system the company sells is a 100-kV system, which starts at 10 kV. It also markets 150-kV and 200-kV systems that both start at 20 kV, and a 300-kV system that starts at 40 kV. All vary in how deep the radiation beam can penetrate the skin.

In the U.S., the 100-kV and 150-kV systems are the most common, while 200-kV systems are more common throughout the rest of the world.

“Most patients coming in will not need treatment to go that deep,” says Adrian Treverton, chief operating officer of Xstrahl, Inc. “In the U.S., there’s more awareness of skin cancer and people tend to be diagnosed by their dermatologists a lot earlier.”

The company has been continuously improving the user interface and software of its systems, adding patient imagery to view the treatment area and changing the database, and it has introduced a dose planning system that is currently available in Europe and Canada.

A 10-year life span is fairly standard for most systems, Treverton says, and software is designed to improve workflow as facilities work to keep their investments up to date.

“Now, we’re looking at a better way for the physicists and the radiation technologists to interact with the machine,” Treverton says.

Starting with alpha
Alpha particle radiation therapy, which uses alpha particle emitters instead of beta emitters for more targeted cancer treatment, has been gaining ground since the FDA approved the first such cancer treatment drug in May 2013. The idea is that alpha particles travel a shorter distance and cause less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

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