Integrated Shielding for Radiation Therapy
Develop a radical new design for radiation therapy machines used to treat breast cancer allowing for better control of patient doses, less unwanted dose to healthy organs and lower-cost, more portable installations.
Sponsor: Orbital Therapy Inc.44 Carter Dr
Framingham, MA 01701
Orbital Therapy has proposed developing a major design revision for the radiation therapy machines used to treat breast cancer. More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and radiation treatment remains the dominant therapy, often in combination with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. The usual source is a multipurpose linear accelerator (LINAC) that produces high-energy X rays. These machines were designed for the treatment of deep-seated tumors, and are ill-suited for treating breast cancers. They generally are installed in heavily shielded rooms. During treatment, the patient is inside the room, and the patient's entire body is exposed to scattered and leakage radiation. Orbital Therapy plans a self-shielding system for prone position breast treatment that would allow for better access to the target anatomy and reduce unwanted radiation exposure to healthy organs, including the skin. In addition, the new geometry could open options for more advanced radiotherapy techniques, which already are used with other types of cancer. The resulting device should reduce or eliminate the need for the traditional bunker installation used today with all linear accelerators. This new design should greatly reduce the cost of the machines, putting them within reach of more clinics and hospitals and possibly even enabling mobile therapy units.