Radiation therapy gets more targeted and personalized

por Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | September 18, 2017
Rad Oncology Radiation Therapy
From the September 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


To address the challenges raised by the experts, Brainlab launched a dedicated software tool that plans treatment for patients with brain metastases. The software, called Elements Multiple Brain Mets SRS, allows patients to receive focused stereotactic radiosurgery, instead of whole brain radiation therapy.

The company has also had an eye toward responsible spending and ways to address the increasing costs of cancer care. In the last few years, many new targeted and immuno-therapeutic agents have flooded the market with treatments that may run in excess of $100,000, compared to radiosurgery or surgery with costs estimated between $20,000 and $30,000, Valcu says.

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“While new agents may work well for a subset of patients, the established treatments remain effective for all,” Valcu says. “Catering to the changing needs of today’s hospitals, Brainlab Elements allows centers to pick and choose the specific software tools needed to support their patient population.”

The company is also harnessing the other big health care and oncology buzzwords — machine learning and big data.

For the last two-and-a-half years, Brainlab has been the primary sponsor of the National Radiosurgery Registry, run by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and ASTRO, in which 30 leading U.S. institutions are collecting outcome data on patients undergoing cranial radiosurgery and surgery. The original project was expected to run for three years, and based on its initial success, has been extended by an additional three. Brainlab plans to integrate information from the registry into the company’s products over the next two years.

“The ideal treatment strategy for intracranial cancer is multidisciplinary, blending surgical and oncological expertise,” Valcu says. “Enhancing treatment planning software with ideal outcomes data will enable more physicians to offer best possible care to their patients.”

Eschewing surgery
Other companies have an eye toward avoiding surgery altogether.

In 2015, Xcision Medical Systems received FDA approval to research GammaPod, the first stereotactic body radiotherapy system (SBRT) for treating breast cancer.

SBRT is more commonly used to treat primary tumors in the prostate, lungs, spine and liver, as well as metastatic disease and recurrences where radiation was previously delivered.

Steve Rubenstein, vice president of marketing for Xcision, says the GammaPod uses an inverse dose planning system along with a dynamic dose painting technology, which consists of thousands of beam angles of radiation from three dozen sources that converge on a focal spot where the maximum dose is delivered. The patient lies on their stomach, instead of on their back, and the breast is noninvasively immobilized in a breast cup system.

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