MIL-OSI Translation: Unique measurement technology – 3D-based position control in radiation therapy


MIL OSI translation. Region: Germany/Germany –

Source: Fraunhofer-GesellschaftFor the radiation treatment of tumours, physicians make use of the destructive power of radiation treatment: With it, the tumor cells can be killed in a targeted manner and people with cancer can be healed. It is essential to hit the tumor region completely and at the same time to protect the healthy tissue as much as possible – a precision on which the success of the treatment depends to a large extent. The medical staff therefore creates an exact image of the tumor in advance using radiation-based computer tomography and uses these images to plan the treatment. If the actual radiation is due a few days later, the person to be treated must be positioned exactly as during the initial examination. The position must not change during the therapy either. With a new type of system, the position of patients can be continuously monitored both before and during radiation therapy. This noticeably increases the chances of successful treatment and the associated healing. In other words: an elementary contribution to gentler and at the same time more effective cancer therapy. For the production-ready complete system, developed with the industrial partner Varian Medical Systems, Dr. Peter Kühmstedt, Dr.-Ing. Christoph Munkelt and Matthias Heinze from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF received the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2022. What was particularly important to the jury was the relief for the sick person who is undergoing the treatment. High-frequency frame rate and at less than with an accuracy of half a millimeter»The system three-dimensionally depicts the patient before and during the treatment with an accuracy of less than half a millimeter and a high-frequency frame rate – that is unique«, emphasizes Munkelt. “This makes it possible to monitor the optimal alignment of the beams with minimal additional radiation exposure from imaging X-ray systems. Optical systems also allow precise control of the patient’s position during high-dose radiation with just a few therapy sessions. The therapies are very effective and also reduce the physical and psychological stress.” During the first examination using computer tomography, an optical sensor projects a variable infrared pattern onto the body that is invisible to the human eye and is recorded by two cameras. The patients, who are already emotionally burdened due to the illness, are not additionally irritated by the light – another plus point. Based on the images, the system creates a 3D model with which the relevant body areas – an irradiated body area measuring around 30 x 30 centimeters – can later be positioned exactly as in the preliminary examination. Another advantage: if the person moves During the irradiation, for example because she is breathing heavily or making compensatory movements, the irradiated body region also changes. The system also ensures greater safety here: if the patient’s position changes, the system registers this immediately and switches off the radiation to be on the safe side. Minor changes in location, e.g. B. adapted as a result of breathing and the radiation can be tracked live. Even more challenging types of radiation for tumors that are difficult to track locally, such as in the abdomen, are likely to slip into the realm of possibility in the future. The research team had to master numerous challenges for this development. “The core of the development, however, was to convert the entire package as a methodology into an industrial solution and to design it as a sensor network,” explains Heinze. In the long term, according to the expectations of the globally active cooperation company Varian Medical Systems, the innovative system for patient position monitoring will be widely used around the world.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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