September 30, 2023
AlignRT takes patient movements into account to make sure radiation goes only where it's supposed to
A positive side-effect of the AlignRT system: Its cameras eliminate the need for permanent marks on a patient's body.

AlignRT takes patient movements into account to make sure radiation goes only where it's supposed to

Art Levy | 9/28/2021

When it opened last year, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s $27-million radiation oncology center was stocked with the latest cancer-fighting equipment, including a pair of advanced linear accelerators that deliver beams of radiation directly to tumors while sparing surrounding healthy cells. The center’s latest equipment, called AlignRT, helps make those radiation treatments even more accurate. AlignRT uses 3-D cameras to examine tumors and monitor a patient’s movement during radiation therapy.

“Monitoring and maintaining a patient’s position is especially important when treating the breast, particularly the left breast with its proximity to the heart, because movements from breathing can result in unintended irradiation,” says Kim Savage, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. “Basically, with AlignRT, we can monitor the precise position and movement of a patient during setup for and treatment with radiotherapy. Using 3-D cameras, our team can visualize the entire surface being treated and compare that to the ideal position with sub-millimetric accuracy. If AlignRT detects any patient movement during treatment, it can instruct the linear accelerator to stop the radiation beam or pause treatment.”

The system also has a positive side-effect. The cameras create a 3-D surface model of the patient’s treatment area by projecting a pattern of light beams on the patient’s skin, which acts as a virtual tattoo during treatment.

“That can eliminate the need for permanent marks placed by other systems that can be an unpleasant reminder of a patient’s cancer treatment,” Savage says.


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