UC Davis Acquires New Linear Accelerator

UC Davis Acquires New Linear Accelerator

The new system is designed to allow UC Davis radiation oncologists to deliver more powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision.

Photo: University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine

In a promising development for cancer patients, the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital has acquired a TrueBeam linear accelerator, an innovative system that enables expanded options to treat cancer with image-guided radiotherapy. The new system replaces a previous linear accelerator the hospital has had for the past nine years.

The new system is designed to allow UC Davis radiation oncologists to deliver more powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. The machine integrates new imaging and motion management technologies within a sophisticated new architecture that makes it possible to deliver treatments more quickly while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion, opening the door to new possibilities for a wide range of treatment options.

“With built-in CT (computed tomography capabilities), the TrueBeam is a major step up from our last linear accelerator,” said Michael Kent, DVM, MAS, acting director of the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health and a radiation oncologist. “It enables us to treat even the most challenging cases with unprecedented speed and precision. With a broad spectrum of new capabilities, this new linear accelerator makes it possible for us to offer faster, more targeted treatments to tumors, even as they move and change over time.”

The UC Davis Radiation Oncology Service provides comprehensive cancer care to over 1,500 dogs, cats, horses, and other animals each year.

Faster Treatments

With dose delivery rates that are 40–140% higher than previous linear accelerators, the new system can complete a treatment commensurately faster. This makes it possible to offer greater patient safety by shortening treatments, and to improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery, the school says. “Intelligent” automation further speeds treatments with an up to fivefold reduction in the number of steps needed for image guidance and dose delivery. Simple treatments that once took 15 minutes or more can now be completed in less than two minutes once the patient is in position.

“These are significant reductions in treatment time,” said Kent. “Patients will spend less time anesthetized, making their treatments far more safe.”

Enhanced Precision

The new system's precision is measured in increments of less than a millimeter. This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture, which synchronizes imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping, and dose delivery, performing accuracy checks every ten milliseconds throughout the entire treatment. Critical data points are measured continually as a treatment progresses, ensuring that the system maintains a “true isocenter,” or focal point of treatment.

Faster Imaging at Lower Doses

TrueBeam imaging technology can produce the three-dimensional images used to fine-tune tumor targeting.

“Imaging is an essential part of modern-day, targeted radiotherapy,” explained Kent. “This machine allows us to choose an imaging mode that minimizes the amount of X rays needed to generate an image—and that’s good for our patients.”

Additionally, the new system can be used for a variety of radiotherapy treatments.

“With the TrueBeam, we can select the optimal treatment for every type of cancer,” said Kent. “This is a breakthrough that allows us to bring a wider spectrum of advanced radiotherapy treatment options to many more patients. It represents a quantum leap in our ability to fight cancer.”

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