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New radiation treatment system now in place

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — University Hospital patients can now access locally one of the most advanced cancer treatment systems—the TomoTherapy Hi Art treatment system.

Unlike traditional radiation therapy equipment, the TomoTherapy system's treatment delivery unit doubles as an on-board CT scanner. This allows true CT images of a patient's anatomy to be created with the same physical equipment used to treat that patient, bringing clinicians greater confidence that tumors will receive their intended dosage from one day to the next.

According to Jeffrey Bogart, M.D., in addition to the CT, or CTrue image that can be taken for every patient, every day, another major difference is the way that radiation hits the treatment area.

A single beam of radiation is modulated into smaller ?beamlets' that are delivered in a helical pattern, from any point in a 360° radius around the patient.

"Typically, tens of thousands of beamlets are included in this unique delivery pattern," said Bogart, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at University Hospital at SUNY Upstate Medical University. "With that many beamlets, delivered from all angles around the patient, the dose conforms to the tumor and avoids critical organs, resulting in improved outcomes, fewer side effects and a higher quality of life. Our patients will benefit from TomoTherapy treatments since the radiation can be pinpointed exactly where it needs to go, minimizing damage to healthy tissues and reducing side effects."

Prior to each treatment, the patient, lying on the couch, moves through the TomoTherapy machine for a CT scan, called a CTrue image. Images taken verify the shape, size and location of the tumor.

The CTrue image is compared to the original planning CT image that may have been taken days before. If necessary, adjustments to the plan and patient set-up are made immediately. The patient then moves through the TomoTherapy treatment system again where the radiation is delivered 360 degrees around the tumor. The entire procedure can be completed in less than 20 minutes.

TomoTherapy can be used to treat many types of cancers and is particularly advantageous for complex treatments such as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy and Radiosurgery.

For more information about the cancer treatment system, call 315-464-5276.