April 17, 2023
The term ‘novel cancer treatment’ refers to innovative and new approaches to treating cancer that go beyond traditional methods like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for cancer. These treatments may include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, gene therapy, and other cutting-edge treatments along with traditional procedures. These treatment options focus on the unique characteristics of cancer cells and provide a more precise and targeted approach to cancer treatment.
Traditional methods such as radiotherapy maximize damage to the rapidly dividing cancer cells but often at the expense of normal cells. Today, novel technological developments help in providing a greater understanding of tumor biology including unregulated growth signaling, the development of new vascular systems, the function of moving tumors, etc. to provide the most effective treatment. Read on to learn more.
Traditional cancer treatments are a challenge because they are difficult to administer and often lead to severe side effects. This is because they are less targeted in nature and damage the surrounding healthy cells.
Especially for radiotherapy, the procedure requires precise targeting of the tumor to avoid damage to adjacent healthy tissues. In the case of a moving tumor, when the tumor moves, even slightly, it becomes much more difficult to ensure that the radiation is hitting the tumor and not the healthy cells.
As a result, the accuracy of radiation treatment can be severely impacted, leading to less than optimum treatment outcomes. A study published in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology revealed that even tiny tumor movements of 2-3mm can significantly affect the accuracy of radiation treatment.
Additionally, tumors that move during radiation treatment may require larger treatment margins, which can result in higher radiation doses to healthy tissues. It is particularly challenging to treat moving tumors near critical organs or structures such as lungs, where even small movements can have significant and far-reaching consequences.
To address these challenges, researchers have been focusing on finding advanced imaging and tracking systems to monitor tumor movement in real-time and deliver radiation accordingly for the past few years.
One example of this technology is Varian’s On-Board Imager™ device which is now being used in cancer treatment for automated, image-guided patient positioning. Along with the help of this imaging technique, Varian’s respiratory gating helps synchronize radiation treatment with the patient’s respiratory cycle.
In this process oncologists also use respiratory gating which is a non-invasive technique for dealing with tumor motion during the time when radiation therapy is being administered. This computer-aided technique synchronizes radiation therapy with a patient’s breathing patterns to minimize side effects during and after the treatment procedure. Here’s how the process works:
With the use of advanced imaging technologies, novel cancer treatment approaches enable oncologists to detect tumors with a high degree of accuracy.
The combination of imaging and motion management technologies allows for real-time tracking of the tumor placement during treatment, which enables precise targeting of the tumor even when it moves.
One of the biggest challenges in radiation therapy is minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. By tracking the tumor in real-time during treatment, physicians can adjust the radiation beam to avoid affecting healthy tissue, which can help to reduce the risk of side effects and improve patient outcomes.
Apart from respiratory gating, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy is another new treatment option that helps by giving a high dose of local radiation. SBRT is a new technology that is most commonly used for treating lung cancer, small brain metastases, as well as liver lesions, and various other organs depending on the stage and condition. This treatment procedure takes only one to five treatment sessions to complete. Also, there are minimum side effects and the cure rates are very high.
Another treatment option is DIBH or Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold which helps treatment during specific phases of a person’s breathing pattern and allows more accurate target radiation while aiming at a smaller area.
The goal of novel cancer treatment is to improve outcomes for patients, by increasing treatment efficacy while reducing side effects and improving quality of life. ACTC, a cancer treatment clinic in Florida has started using this unique combination of imaging and motion management technologies from Varian Medical Systems to treat a wide range of cancer cases that inolve moving tumors. The oncologists at ACTC are also considering effective novel cancer treatment options like SBRT and DIBH. Contact us to schedule an appointment and discuss these new treatment options and personalized cancer care plans with our team.