IGRT, or Image Guided Radiation Therapy, is the most sophisticated method of radiation treatment delivery currently available in the world. Every radiation accelerator manufacturer is developing more and more precise technologies based on IGRT, to further enhance the accuracy of the treatments. Varian, the world-leader in radiation technology is at the head of the pack in the development and deployment of these technologies, based on decades of research and continued development. To read more about Varian's technologies, click here.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy, and other related technologies, such as Cone-Beam CT (CBCT) using an On-Board Imager (OBI) and RapidArc, enhance delivery and further improve outcomes as the treatments create a higher level of precision that was never before possible.
Each year, new modalities become available, which attempt to improve the outcomes for patients with cancer - outcomes, which, of course, include better survivals and also decrease toxicities and side effects.
So what about these so-called new treatments, otherwise known as: Calypso, Proton Therapy, Cyberknife, Tomotherapy, HIFU . . . Some of these are quite similar to IGRT and some, in our opinion, still require years more data before they can be considered standard therapy. One thing for certain is that there are quite a lot of marketing dollars being spent to make sure people know the names of these name brand technologies.
Unfortunately, none of these new technologies are based on the most tried and true radiation delivery system available, the LINear ACcelerator or LINAC. As such, there is a huge hole of experience in using these technologies in place of Linac-based radiotherapy. Conversely, the radiation therapies used at Advanced Radiation Centers ARE strongly based in research and ARE based on LINAC technology, the most tried and true radiation delivery system available.
When considering any "new" treatment modality, three things are vitally important to consider:
1. How long has the treatment been available?
2. How many patients have been treated with this technology?
3. What is the "Natural History" of the specific cancer?