Though often misunderstood, radiation therapy is a local cancer treatment that Is offered to nearly half of all patients on their cancer journey.
To be safe and effective, radiation therapy requires extreme precision in delivering the dose to destroy the tumor, while minimizing exposure to radiation of nearby organs and potential treatment toxicities. In its relentless quest for precision, the radiotherapy department of the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc benefited in 2021 from major technological innovations that have revolutionized the care of our patients.
To illustrate, our department was equipped with the Ethos® LINAC, which was a first in Belgium, offering an adaptive radiotherapy solution based on artificial intelligence. This new therapy renders it possible to automatically and rapidly adapt the radiation ballistics to the patient's anatomical changes, at each radiotherapy session.
Besides the anatomical changes that occur from session to session, breathing is another source of ballistic inaccuracy. Indeed, breathing induces a cyclic and often irregular movement of tumors and organs within the thorax and upper abdomen. In order to avoid such movements, our department has set up a technique of irradiation synchronized to breathing, or more precisely, which is delivered during repeated apneas of the patient induced by mechanical ventilation.
Finally, a 3D printer was also made available in the department. It allows for the creation of individualized objects for patients, thus improving the quality of treatment and protection of the patient during irradiation. When technological evolution rhymes with clinical revolution, both caregivers and patients can only look forward to the radiotherapy of tomorrow, which will be increasingly personalized, effective, and safe.