New TrueBeam provides advanced radiation oncology

Imaging, precision and power separates it from older technology

July 01, 2014

UC Irvine Health cancer patients now have access to advanced radiation oncology treatments available with the addition of Orange County’s first TrueBeam™ STx radiotherapy and radiosurgery system at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

“The TrueBeam™ STx image-guided system allows us to deliver more accurate and precise radiation treatment than ever before,” said Dr. Nilam Ramsinghani, clinical professor and head of UC Irvine Health Radiation Oncology Services. “That means less time and potential discomfort for patients.” 

UC Irvine Health uses TrueBeam STx to treat numerous cancers, including, brain, breast, head and neck, lung, abdominal, gynecologic, prostate and other tumors. It is designed to excel at several kinds of radiation therapy techniques, including:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery for cancers of the brain and spinal tumors that are not amenable to surgery or as an adjunct to a surgical procedure.
  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy for cancers in other parts of the body and allowing physicians to target tumors as small as a few millimeters in diameter with high precision.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, which aims beams of radiation of varying intensities at the tumor from multiple angles to confine the radiation dose to the disease site.

The system's ability to rotate 360 degrees around a patient to attack a tumor from multiple directions may optimize treatment. Its advanced imaging capabilities permit radiation therapists to continually monitor the tumor during treatment, which UC Irvine Health experts say complement its greater precision.

The technology permits radiation therapists to deliver higher, more precise doses per treatment and it may reduce overall treatment time, sometimes from weeks to days. Side effects often associated with radiation treatment may be reduced. Greater doses per treatment and shorter radiation sessions also may improve patient comfort.

“It was important for us to find ways to improve the experience of patients who are already very ill and likely to be uncomfortable,” Ramsinghani said. “For example, older linear accelerators might require the patient to remain still on a hard bed for an hour or more. TrueBeam could reduce that treatment time to 10 minutes.” 

The beam’s precision also more effectively spares nearby tissue — important when treating tumors in the brain, throat or near the heart, said Ramsinghani. Radiation therapy may be one of several treatments for cancer tumors, including surgery and chemotherapy. 

“Because the beam is so precise and powerful, we can treat a patient’s tumor in days and weeks rather than weeks and months,” she said.  “Completing radiation treatment faster may allow some to get started on other therapies earlier and possibly improve their potential for recovery.”

The UC Irvine Health cancer center became the first Orange County hospital to treat patients with the advanced version of the TrueBeam system when the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development cleared it for use in April.

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 13 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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