New treatment technology acquired by Fox Chase Cancer Center reduces radiation of healthy tissue

November 08, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (November 9, 2000) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center has acquired a new technology that allows a more precise delivery of high dose radiation to tumors while sparing healthy tissues and critical structures. Fox Chase Cancer Center is the first comprehensive cancer center in the nation to utilize the HD-270 Multileaf Collimator (MLC) from Siemens Medical Systems, Inc.

"Fox Chase Cancer Center studies have shown that treating tumors with higher levels of radiation improves survival," explains Gerald E. Hanks, M.D., chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology. "To administer higher doses of radiation, we've pioneered the use of three-dimensional conformal radiation treatment (3D CRT), which allows the radiation beam to be shaped to match the tumor. Now, with the addition of HD-270 MLC, the shape of the beam is even more conformal compared to regular shaped fields. This technology sets a new standard of radiation therapy."

The HD-270 MLC option eliminates the usual stair-step outline of the radiation beam associated with standard treatment and preserves more of the healthy tissue that surrounds the tumor.

"The HD-270 MLC technology provides us with the ability to improve conformal treatment above and beyond the current capabilities," says Raj K. Mitra, M.S., Clinical Medical Physicist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "In particular, this technology will aid us in treating head and neck cancers where tumors are often located next to critical organs and nerves."

Radiation is delivered to the tumor using a linear accelerator. High-precision machined tungsten leaves called Multileaf Collimators, are contained within the linear accelerator and allow the radiation beam to be shaped according to the treatment plan entered into the operating computer. The HD-270 MLC software adds to this technology by reducing the width of the MLC leaves from 10 mm to 2 mm. By using complex algorithms, the computer calculates the final radiation fields incorporating changes in the position of the MLC leafs and the treatment table. This enables efficient delivery of radiation to the tumor while increasingly sparing normal healthy tissues and critical organs.

Clinical implementation of this technology was presented by Siemens Medical Systems, Inc., at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology Annual Conference in Boston, 2000. A manuscript detailing the clinical physics research at Fox Chase related to the HD-270 MLC has been submitted for publication.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center

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