Tulane Health System recently upgraded its radiation oncology technology, facilities, and capabilities with the addition of a new linear accelerator and CT simulator and a renovated patient care area. The $4.2 million capital investment will improve patient care by providing shorter treatment sessions in a more comfortable environment, as well as help reduce treatment side effects by better targeting radiation to avoid more normal tissues.
The TrueBeam Linear Accelerator is an innovative system that uses image-guided, high-precision radiotherapy to treat cancers anywhere in the body, with enhanced, focused treatment for the brain using specialized cones. The technology is paired with a new sound and light system in the renovated treatment area that provides a soothing, comforting environment for patients during treatment sessions.
“Tulane Health System and the physicians of the Tulane Cancer Center have built a strong, international reputation for developing cutting-edge treatment options and leading groundbreaking cancer research initiatives,” said Laura Godel, Tulane Health System’s associate regional vice president of oncology services. “This enhanced technology ensures our tools match our expertise as we continue to provide personalized, compassionate care to all our patients.”
The TrueBeam system generates three-dimensional images used to fine-tune tumor targeting and ensure the most precise patient position is achieved before and during the treatment process. And the system’s “six degrees of freedom” couch allows for greater patient movement during treatment, meaning a more comfortable session with greater accuracy.
The inclusion of technology to track and account for the motion of breathing and specialized add-ons to enable stereotactic radiotherapy were also selected due to an ever-greater number of patients who need this kind of cancer treatment, said Dr. Kendra Harris, a Tulane Health System radiation oncologist.
“This technology allows us to treat patients precisely while maximally sparing normal tissues,” Harris said. “Specialized cones for framed and frameless stereotactic radiosurgery, gating technology to detect and account for patient movement and the capacity of inter- and intra-fraction image-guidance are all now available to patients at Tulane.”
Additionally, increased speed provides patients shorter treatment times leading to less interruption of their daily lives. Most treatments take only minutes a day, Harris said, with some treatments that once took 10-30 minutes now being finished in less than five minutes.