"TomoTherapy is a revolutionary improvement in radiation oncology, providing additional reassurance for both doctors and patients," said radiation oncologist Dr. Jerry Barker. "The combination of CT imaging and treatment delivery allows visual confirmation that the tumor is being precisely treated on a daily basis. In the past, we carefully designed IMRT (intensity-modulated radiation therapy) treatments using a single CT scan. Now we can guarantee we are hitting the target."
Dr. Alex Turner, chief medical physicist at Moncrief, said what sets TomoTherapy apart from conventional treatment-delivery systems is its efficiency and precision, enhanced by image-guided radiotherapy.
"TomoTherapy combines treatment planning, patient positioning and treatment delivery into one process," he said. "It is designed to simplify the treatment process, precisely deliver the planned dose of radiation, and minimize the dosage to sensitive and healthy tissues. It allows us to take a CT (computerized tomography) scan just before each treatment so we can verify the position of the tumor, and adjust the patient position as necessary to ensure that the radiation is precisely directed to the target area."
Dr. Turner predicted TomoTherapy's IGRT technology would significantly impact how radiation therapy is delivered in the future. "TomoTherapy is clearly gaining rapid acceptance by the leading radiation therapy centers worldwide," Dr. Turner said. "Since the first commercial unit began treating patients in 2003, there are 15 facilities worldwide - including Moncrief - utilizing TomoTherapy."
The $3.1 million system is installed at Moncrief's flagship facility at 1450 Eighth Ave. Various personnel, including technicians, engineers, physicists and therapists, have been installing and calibrating Moncrief's system over the last two months, as well as undergoing operational training.
"Once again, Moncrief Cancer Center has demonstrated its commitment to the community by providing our patients the finest, most advanced radiation treatment available," said William Craig, executive director of Moncrief. "Just as we pioneered the concept of the community radiation center and were the first to introduce intensity modulated radiation therapy seven years ago in North Texas, we now offer another first.
"This time it's TomoTherapy, whose advantages are substantial and unique."
TomoTherapy Inc., a privately held company, was founded in 1997 by two members of a research group from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The group, exploring ways to deliver IMRT, conceptualized its TomoTherapy approach in the early 1990s.
Moncrief Cancer Center was founded in 1958 as one of the nation's first community radiation facilities. After UT Southwestern was asked to assume responsibility for its management in 2000, it broadened the scope of its services and increased the sites at which it serves patients. The center is named after early-day benefactors W.A. "Monty" and Elizabeth B. Moncrief. Their son Tex, a prominent Fort Worth oilman and philanthropist, has reinforced that family commitment through vigorous leadership and philanthropic support.
Besides its flagship facility in Fort Worth, UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Center has diagnostic and treatment centers in southwest Fort Worth (site of its PET-CT center), south Tarrant County and Weatherford.
To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at www.utsouthwestern.edu/receivenews