Published on November 26, 2019

Advancing the Fight Against Cancer with the TrueBeam Radiotherapy System

MidMichigan Health is continuing to advance its cancer fighting technology in the Great Lakes Bay Region with the addition of a new state-of-the-art TrueBeam™ Radiotherapy System at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. This innovative system, which is now operational, enables a radically different approach to treating cancer with highly advanced image-guided radiotherapy.

Photo of MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland Radiation Oncology Team Members with the TrueBeam Radiotherapy System.

Members of the radiation oncology team at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland show off the newly installed TrueBeam Radiotherapy System. Team members include (left to right) Radiation Therapist Tylor Filipiak; Radiation Oncology Medical Director Mark Fireman, M.D.; Radiation Oncology Manager Courtney Friedle; Radiation Oncologist Rajnikant Mehta, M.D.; Physicist Matthew Buczek; Chief Physicist Victor Hosfeld; and Radiation Therapist Aaron Belich. Not pictured: Radiation Oncologist Rajesh Kotecha, M.D.

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 Joan Herbert, director of the Oncology Service Line at MidMichigan Health. “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 the Great Lakes Bay Region. 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.

“Radiation treatments are much faster and more accurate on the True Beam,” said Radiation Oncology Medical Director Mark Fireman, M. D. “Patients can be positioned with a rapid CT scan and the treatment couch moved or rotated in any direction needed to match the plan. Delivery time can be more than twice as fast. Faster imaging and treatment means less time on the hard table and better targeting of the cancer.”

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. Fireman, 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 Herbert. “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.­­­ Fireman. “This allows us to select the optimal treatment for every type of cancer.”

MidMichigan Health has also installed TrueBeam Radiotherapy Systems at MidMichigan Gratiot Cancer Center in Alma and the Cancer Center at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena.

Those interested in more information on MidMichigan’s comprehensive Cancer Care Program may visit www.midmichigan.org/cancer.

TrueBeam™ and RapidArc® are trademarks of Varian Medical Systems