Proton Therapy Center Looks Into the Future

Imaging Capabilities at the Proton Therapy Center

As a world-renowned cancer center, the Proton Therapy Center wishes to continue giving patients the full benefit of resources. Therefore, we are excited to announce three capital projects that will advance the imaging capabilities at the Proton Therapy Center as well as improve the safety and accuracy of proton therapy. The center has begun implementing volumetric imaging, installing a 1.5T MR, and developing dual energy CT technology with a new CT Simulator.

In-Room Volumetric Imaging

Over the past year and a half, the Proton Therapy Center physics team has worked on developing an in-room volumetric imaging solution for proton therapy.

The Proton Therapy Center physics team worked with the vendors, Neurologica and Diacor, to advance the BodyTom CT to meet radiation oncology needs.  The mobile CT-on-rail system and workflow has been finalized after rigorous testing to ensure it meets ACR and other CT imaging requirements. The physics team demonstrated a +/- 1mm accuracy with consistency and reliability. The New Procedure Review Committee (NPR) approved the commissioning reports for this technology on August 17th. Dr. Seungtaek Choi, associate professor in the Radiation Oncology Department, treated the first patient on August 22nd in Gantry 1 (G1). The workflow using mobile CT-on-rail is similar to CT-on-rail in the photon clinic, using CAT software to do the image analysis and alignment. G1 has been equipped with breath-hold technology for many years. Integration of breath-hold with mobile CT-on-rail will be released in the near future.

Adopting volumetric imaging with proton therapy will allow us to maximize the benefits of proton therapy for our patients and add additional safety and quality components to our treatments.

MRI Imaging

The Proton Therapy Center will be installing a 1.5T Siemens MRI for the Division of Radiation Oncology’s MR Radiotherapy strategic initiatives.

The first phase of construction will include the creation of a new educational playroom for the pediatric patients, which started on August 12th. The MR vault construction began at the end of August and Siemens installed the magnet on October 29th, 2016. The Division has been working closely with Division of Diagnostic Imaging on the room design, workflow, safety zones, and technical support.

The MR will be dedicated to Radiation Oncology initiatives and help the division further develop and advance MR Radonc utilization.

Dual Energy Simulation CT Scanner

The Proton Therapy Center replaced its GE simulator with one of the most advanced Dual Energy CT Scanners on the market. The dual energy technology will improve imaging techniques, but more importantly it will reduce proton therapy range uncertainties on the distal and proximal ends of the tumor. This will make the treatment plans more conformal to the tumor and reduce radiation to normal tissues surrounding the tumor.

The Proton Therapy Center team is working with Siemens and Varian to clinically implement this technology as soon as possible. We are excited about the addition of this new technology at the Proton Therapy Center and continuing our efforts to improve the accuracy and safety of proton therapy.