April 24, 2013 — A prostate cancer patient has become the first person in the world to be treated using the latest version of Varian's Vitesse real-time planning solution for planning and performing advanced high-dose-rate (HDR), ultrasound-guided brachytherapy treatments. The treatment took place at the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, N.C.
"Our team was very impressed overall with this treatment planning system," says Michael Haake, chief of radiation oncology at Carolinas Medical Center, Levine Cancer Institute. "The total anesthesia time for the patient was just three hours, which is short for this type of treatment. He was discharged about two and half hours after he woke up."
HDR brachytherapy involves delivering radiotherapy from inside the body by temporarily placing a tiny radioactive source directly into the tumor or other targeted area. Using a robotic device called an afterloader, clinicians place the radioactive source into position through needles that have been inserted into the area being treated. The source is then moved within the needles under computer control to create the specified dose distribution within the patient's anatomy.
Using the latest version of Vitesse, HDR brachytherapy treatment plans can be created in a real-time environment, using ultrasound images generated in the operating room (OR) rather than computed tomography (CT) scans generated post-operatively elsewhere. This avoids the need to move the patient to a CT scanner for imaging after the needles have been put in place. The process can now be completed entirely within the Vitesse program, from capturing the ultrasound image to finalizing an approved treatment plan.
"From a practical point of view, the Vitesse software enabled us to monitor the location of the implant needle tips better in real time, by moving the needle as my dosimetry personnel mapped their position, which allowed us to actually leave the procedure room with a great treatment plan," added Haake. "The real-time planning allowed us to edit the plan during treatment, which would have been much more difficult and time-consuming using our previous planning system."
"This version of Vitesse reduces the number and complexity of steps involved in planning and completing a treatment," says Tim Clark, marketing manager for Varian Brachytherapy. "It eliminates the need for a data transfer to another software program and avoids moving the patient to a CT scanner for images in the middle of the procedure. For these reasons, most clinicians will see a reduction in the amount of time needed to complete these treatments, often by as much as an hour and a half."
Levine Cancer Institute is part of the Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), which comprises 32 affiliated hospitals in North and South Carolina.
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