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Published on September 14, 2017

Local Cancer Center on the Forefront of Treatment with New TrueBeam Radiotherapy System

Radiation Oncology Team at MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpena showing off their new TrueBeam Radiotherapy System.Members of the Cancer Center radiation oncology team show off the new state-of-the-art TrueBeam Radiotherapy System at MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpena. Pictured from left to right are Clinical Physicist Jin Dai, M.S.; Radiation Therapist Curt Hampton, R.T. (R)(T)(CT); Radiation Therapist Elizabeth Morris, R.T. (R)(T)(T); Director of Diagnostic Imaging and Oncology Services Douglas Kreis; Radiation Oncologist Mario Lacerna, M.D.; and Radiation Therapist Kristin Barber, R.T. (R)(T).

MidMichigan Health and Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan, are continuing to advance the cancer fighting technology in northern Michigan with the addition of a new state-of-the-art TrueBeam™ Radiotherapy System at the Cancer Center at MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpena. This innovative system, which is now operational, enables a radically different approach to treating cancer with highly advanced image-guided radiotherapy.

The TrueBeam system, from Varian Medical Systems, was engineered to deliver more powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. By integrating advanced imaging and motion management technologies within a sophisticated new architecture, TrueBeam makes it possible to offer faster, more targeted treatments to tumors even as they move and change over time.

“This new technology makes it possible to deliver treatments more quickly while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion, opening the door to new possibilities for the treatment of lung, breast, prostate, head and neck, as well as other cancers that are treatable with radiotherapy,” said Doug Kreis, director of Diagnostic Imaging and Oncology Services, MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpena. “It will enable us to treat even the most challenging cancer cases with unprecedented speed and precision. We are very excited to bring this new, state-of-the-art generation of linear accelerator to northern Michigan. It represents a significant leap forward in our ability to help people fight cancer in the communities we serve.”

With dose delivery rates that are 40 – 140 percent higher than earlier generations of Varian technology, the TrueBeam system can complete a treatment comparably faster. This makes it possible to offer greater patient comfort by shortening treatments, and to improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery. “Intelligent” automation further speeds treatments with an up to fivefold reduction in the number of steps needed for image guidance and dose delivery.

“Simple treatments that once took 15 minutes or more can be completed in less than two minutes once the patient is in position,” said Radiation Oncologist Mario Lacerna, M.D. “This means that our patients will spend a lot less time having to lie still, immobilized on a hard surface.”

The precision of the TrueBeam system is measured in increments of less than a millimeter. This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture, which synchronizes imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery, performing accuracy checks every 10 milliseconds throughout the entire treatment. Critical data points are measured continually as a treatment progresses, ensuring that the system maintains a ‘true isocenter,’ or focal point of treatment.

According to Dr. Lacerna, TrueBeam imaging technology can produce three-dimensional digital images used to fine-tune tumor targeting in 60 percent less time. “This additional functionality also makes it possible to create images using 25 percent less X-ray dose,” he added.

For lung and other tumors subject to respiratory motion, TrueBeam offers gated RapidArc® radiotherapy, which makes it possible to monitor patient breathing and compensate for tumor motion while quickly delivering dose during a continuous rotation around the patient. During the last decade, lung cancer became the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. “With this new technology, we can treat a moving lung tumor as if it were stationary,” said Kreis. “We expect this to make a meaningful difference for lung cancer patients across the region.”

The TrueBeam System has a CT scan, as well as 2D image capability and 3D fusion with the patient in the treatment position. On a daily basis, a patient can have their tumor targeted more accurately and faster with less additional exposure, improving the quality of the treatment.

“TrueBeam can be used for radiotherapy treatments including image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery (IGRT and IGRS), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), RapidArc® radiotherapy and gated RapidArc,” said Dr. Lacerna. “This allows us to select the optimal treatment for every type of cancer.”

Earlier this year, MidMichigan Health also installed a TrueBeam Radiotherapy System in Alma, Michigan at the MidMichigan Gratiot Cancer Center.

Those interested in more information on MidMichigan’s comprehensive Cancer Care Program may visit

TrueBeam™ is a registered trademark of trademarks of Varian Medical Systems

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