News | June 09, 2010

Radiation Therapy Gets Ready for Safety Check Initiative

June 9, 2010 - As part of its ongoing commitment to provide safe and effective radiation therapy equipment, the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) and the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) today announced an industry-wide effort to develop and implement additional patient protection features for radiation therapy equipment.

The campaign, called the Radiation Therapy Readiness Check Initiative, is designed to confirm that patient treatment plans are delivered as intended and that radiation therapy equipment, accessories and patients are properly positioned prior to delivery of therapy.

“Radiation therapy is a crucial element in effective cancer treatment and is responsible for turning millions of patients into survivors,” said Dave Fisher, executive director of MITA. “By committing to additional enhanced safeguards and safety checks, radiation therapy manufacturers are doing their part to ensure accuracy and appropriateness before the patient treatment begins.”

“These additional readiness check features serve as redundant safety checks so a user can verify that a patient is not about to receive inappropriate levels of medical radiation,” said Janet Trunzo, executive vice president, technology and regulatory affairs, AdvaMed.

The Radiation Therapy Readiness Check Initiative will provide technologists, physicists and physicians additional checkpoints to enable radiation therapy procedures to be performed correctly. The initiative includes the following:

· Radiation Therapy Pre-Treatment Quality-Assurance Verification and Approval – Treatment plans are initially approved and subject to quality assurance (QA) by authorized professional personnel (e.g., physician, assigned medical physicist) before the device can deliver the treatment. With the new verification, if the system has not recorded a QA approval for an initial and/or modified treatment plan, the machine will not run until authorized professional personnel acknowledge that the QA check is complete.

· Verification of Beam Modifying Accessories – Beam modification techniques are essential to focusing medical radiation to kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues. The enhanced beam modification check verifies the correct placement of appropriate beam modifying accessories (e.g., wedges, blocks, compensators, etc.) and prevents a machine from operating if the accessories are incorrect, missing, or out of place.

· Patient Positioning Confirmation Enhancements to the treatment system will generate a visual representation of the planned relative positions of the patient and the treatment device to allow the operator to quickly compare with the patient’s actual position. The operator can confirm visually that the patient is positioned as intended in the treatment plan. The operator will then have to enter a confirmation of a positive comparison.

MITA and AdvaMed radiation therapy manufacturers have agreed to begin work immediately on implementing these initiatives into new products and making them available on compatibly configured products in the installed base within two years. MITA and AdvaMed member companies provide the vast majority of radiation therapy equipment in the United States as well as worldwide.

For more information: www.advamed.org

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