The current challenge in radiotherapy is to network the entire spectrum of cancer treatment to enable more efficient and individualized therapy in inpatient and outpatient care.
The ESTRO2023 industry exhibition featured technologies and services that covered the entire patient pathway from screening to follow-up. Vendors placed particular emphasis on integrated and automated workflows to improve treatment decisions and outcomes.
One such workflow is to go from planning a CT or MRI examination to a finished radiation plan with as few clicks as possible. AI algorithms help to segment the tumors faster and more precisely in order to protect the healthy tissue surrounding the lesions as much as possible.
The individual companies also presented different methods that detect tumor movement during irradiation and interrupt therapy if necessary. Here, too, the primary goal is to protect healthy tissue in order to continue therapy after correcting patient movement. Thus even the smallest movements are detected and can be taken into account during radiation therapy to ensure that the treatment is as precise and safe as possible.
While Siemens Healthineers and Varian are taking a one-stop-shop approach, several other vendors have joined forces under “unite RT” to allow users to assemble their own heterogeneous “best of breed” solution from their favorite vendors.
Siemens Healthineers and Varian unveiled a CBCT imaging solution called Connected Imaging, which is available for the Halcyon and Ethos systems. The 86-by-43-centimeter detector provides more accurate images in less time, indicating tumor change and enabling rapid therapy adjustment.
“If we want to help create a world without fear of cancer, we need to look beyond the treatment room and consider how we can work with our customers to use our technology to optimize the treatment pathway,” said Kevin O’Reilly, president of Radiation Oncology Solutions at Varian
BrainLab is also focusing on active motion management with ExacTrac Dynamic Surface, a new product in the ExacTrac Dynamic line designed specifically for surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT). The system projects a structured blue light pattern onto the patient’s body surface, which is captured by two 3D cameras located in the same unit. Each surface point is assigned a heat signature, which is registered by a third camera in the unit to increase the precision of the irradiation based on thermal information.
“ExacTrac Dynamic Surface is about more than just surface monitoring,” said Stefan Vilsmeier, founder and CEO of Brainlab. “This further development is based on the extensive know-how we have gained in thirty years of innovations in the field of radiation therapy.”
GE HealthCare showcased three innovations in radiation oncology with Intelligent Radiation Therapy (iRT), Auto Segmentation and an updated Magnetic Resonance (MR) Radiation Therapy Suite (AIR Open Coil Suite).
Key features of the iRT platform include an integrated workflow that connects multiple applications in one intuitive interface, multi-vendor interoperability that connects existing RT systems through an automated back-end service, seamless data transfer and task automation, and a catalog of RT applications from GE HealthCare and third-party vendors.
With the introduction of Automated Segmentation, GE HealthCare is also streamlining the process of delineating organs at risk (OARs). Delineation of OARs helps ensure that a patient’s tumor receives the maximum dose of radiation therapy while minimizing exposure to surrounding tissue.
In addition, the company demonstrated the AIR Open Coil Suite, three separate AIR coils designed for a clinically beneficial signal-to-noise ratio, and a new table design that accommodates all necessary patient immobilization equipment as well as eliminates the need to purchase a separate couch.
“These new technologies can help transform the future of radiation therapy by optimizing and accelerating the oncology treatment pathway, as we know this is critical to the outcomes of patients fighting cancer around the world,” said Ben Newton, PhD, general manager, Oncology Solutions, at GE HealthCare.
The latest version of RaySearch’s RayStation includes new and updated segmentation models for automatic contouring using machine learning techniques and support for brachy planning with Elekta Flexitron afterloaders. Other highlights include robust evaluation on multiple images, new and much faster electron Monte Carlo dose engine, and improvements for CyberKnife planning.
RayCare attendees will see several improvements to the patient chart, including usability and efficiency enhancements such as user configured templates for selected workspaces and a new patient chart feature providing support for financial accounts for charge capture. The latest version of RayCare also offers improved connectivity and opportunity for seamless integration to other hospital information systems by the addition of new external interfaces.
Johan Löf, founder and CEO of RaySearch, said: “Being at ESTRO and having the ability to interact with many customers in a short time frame are always one of the highlights during the year. At RaySearch, we believe that open interfaces and joint collaborations are an important step towards further advancements in the field of radiation therapy.”
In addition to GE HealthCare and RaySearch, Infinitt has joined the unite RT initiative with RT PACS to streamline the radiotherapy workflow. RT PACS is a dedicated Radiotherapy Treatment (RT) image and data management solution optimized to streamline the oncology workflow.
In total, more than 6,000 visitors came to Vienna to learn about the latest trends and technology in radiotherapy. ESTRO2024 will be held in Glasgow from May 3 to 7.