May 31, 2016

New radiation machine a Victorian first showing tumours in 4D

A new multi-million dollar machine will help reduce cancer patients’ radiation treatment sessions by around 85 per cent. The new linear accelerator at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre is the first of its kind in Victoria to combine the superior imaging quality of Elekta™ Versa HD Linacs and BrainLab™ Exactrac to most accurately determine patient positioning during radiation treatments.

A unique function of the machine not available elsewhere in Victoria is its ability to take a CT scan showing ‘4D’ video of the patient breathing before and during treatment in real time. This video can be compared to the previously captured treatment plan and ensure that movement of the tumour is within the targeted treatment area.

This new system offers patients more precise treatments while minimizing radiation damage to surrounding normal tissue.  Associate Professor Farshad Foroudi, Director of Radiation Oncology says treatments can be adapted daily to allow for even slight changes in patient and organ movements, improving precision and giving patients a better treatment experience.  Patient imaging and treatment can be tailored to suit the specific needs of each person; on each day; delivering a patient experience which is unique to radiotherapy within Victoria.

“Currently for many treatments patients would expect up to 35 treatments to see significant results; with this new machine, we can see results with one to three treatments. This means fewer visits to the hospital, a reduction in side effects and – because fewer treatments are required – we will have more availability to treat more patients,” A/Prof Foroudi said.

The machine will provide very accurate treatment to disease for cancer patients like Rebecca Davies, who will be one of the first people in Victoria to receive the 4D treatment. The accuracy and positioning will help people like Rebecca, a young mum of three with lung cancer, to receive effective treatment while minimising the radiation does to normal nearby organs – improving patient experiences at the ONJ Centre.

The new machine costs around $3 million, funded by the Federal Government with supporting funds from the State Government of Victoria.