This article originally appeared in Connections, a magazine
published for physicians and the community by UMass Memorial Medical
Groundbreaking RapidArcTM radiotherapy technology is now offered
through the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence. RapidArc provides image
guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT) that is up to eight
times faster and more precise than conventional IMRT. For cancer patients
undergoing radiation therapy, this is a significant advance.
"It cuts treatment time by about one third for conventional radiation
therapy," explained Charles Mayo, PhD, assistant director of medical physics at
UMass Memorial. "And it reduces a two-hour stereotactic procedure to a 20- to
rotates 360 degrees around the patient, enabling small beams with varying
intensity to be continuously aimed at the tumor from multiple angles. But
RapidArc delivers the complete IMRT treatment in fewer rotations than
traditional IMRT. As a result, a tumor receives the full radiation dose within
two minutes compared with 10 minutes or longer for conventional IMRT.
When used as part of hypo-fractioned therapies for lung and brain metastasis,
this shortened treatment delivery time has the potential to enhance the effect
of the radiation. Equally important, RapidArc shapes the radiation dose so it
conforms closely to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor, delivering more
radiation to the tumor and less to surrounding healthy tissues.
UMass Memorial was the first hospital in New England to adopt RapidArc.
Clinical use started in January 2009, and it is being used to treat prostate,
pancreas, breast and lung cancer as well as in stereotactic procedures. UMass
Memorial is a recognized world leader in use of the technology and assists other
medical centers, such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, with their startup
"The RapidArc demonstrates our commitment to acquire the latest technology
that provides the safest, highest-quality and most convenient experience for our
patients," said Alan Rosmarin, MD, deputy director of the Cancer Center of
Appointments: HOPE Line for Cancer Care, 866-587-HOPE (4673).