Adaptive Radiation Therapy
The Department of Radiation Oncology has a collection of the most sophisticated treatment machines capable of treating all types of cancer. Our new 71,000-square-foot expansion expands our current simulation and treatment technologies by adding 27 exam rooms, seven treatment rooms, an HDR brachytherapy suite, a minor procedure room, and a patient support room, in addition to academic and research space.
The expansion hosts modern radiation techniques that will allow us to explore and develop a new paradigm called adaptive therapy, which is “smart” radiation therapy that combines real-time and high-resolution imaging. Together, this allows our physicians a wide range of options for precise treatment delivery, including:
- Ability to quickly adapt to changes in the patient’s anatomy, tumor size, and position
- Capability to monitor the treatment progress due to biological and functional changes
These adaptive machines are able to precisely image-guide to tumors and can realign radiation beams to the shape of the patient’s tumors as is changes, which means the physician is better able to target the tumors and avoid healthy issue. Once fully operational, the adaptive process will take just minutes.
“The adaptive machines not only provide precise image-guidance to tumors, they can realign and reshape radiation beams to the borders of the tumor as it changes, meaning we’ll be able to better target tumors and avoid healthy tissue. When fully operational, the adaptive process will take just minutes."
The largest collection in the world within a single facility, our new imaging/treatment machines include:
- RefleXion IGRT
- Two Varian Ethos systems
- Two Varian Halycon systems
- Two Elekta Unity MR-Linac systems
- MRI for simulation and planning
“This newly expanded building is a confluence of multiple state-of-the art technologies and the foundation of our vision for Radiation Oncology over the next five to 10 years,” says Dr. David Sher, Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Operations. “That vision, and all the technology behind it, is aimed at vastly improving outcomes, including both the cancer control rate and patients’ quality of life. These machines possess unbelievable tools for fine-tuning the delivery of radiation therapy, precisely defining the location of disease, and minimizing the dose to normal, healthy tissues to an extent almost unimaginable just five years ago. We have all the tools in the toolbox to be able to select the right modality, or combination of modalities, to deliver optimal results.”
Read more about our expansion.
PULSAR: The Adaptation of SAbR Toward Personalized Medicine
Using adaptive therapy, we’re also exploring an innovative, more personalized way of delivering radiation treatments for our patients that adapts to the shape and position of a tumor. This concept, called personalized ultrafractionated adaptive radiotherapy (PULSAR), will be evaluated in a series of clinical trials at UT Southwestern over the next several years.
“It’s important to note that the machines and treatments we use today are highly capable and have very high success rates,” Dr. Timmerman says. “Adaptive therapy and advances such as PULSAR will complement that care and give us even more weapons.”