Covenant introduces new 'game-changer' cancer treatment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Covenant introduces new 'game-changer' cancer treatment

Covenant introduces new 'game-changer' cancer treatment

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Calling it a radical new approach in its cancer treatment, the Covenant Cancer Treatment Center in Waterloo Thursday announced its new, TrueBeam technology for aggressive cancer treatments.

The treatment expands radiotherapy treatment options for many cancer patients.

The announcement came in a Covenant Medical Center press release, a portion of which is listed here.

In a promising development for cancer patients in and around Waterloo, Covenant Cancer Treatment Center has acquired the TrueBeam™ system, an innovative system that enables a radically different approach to treating cancer with image-guided radiotherapy.

The TrueBeam system, from Varian Medical Systems, was engineered from the ground up to deliver more powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. It uniquely integrates new imaging and motion management technologies within a sophisticated new architecture that makes it possible to deliver treatments more quickly while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion, opening the door to new possibilities for the treatment of lung, breast, prostate, head and neck, as well as other cancers that are treatable with radiotherapy. It is currently operational at the center and to date 25 patients have received treatment with this new technology.

“TrueBeam is a real game-changer that enables us to treat even the most challenging cases with unprecedented speed and precision,” said Dr. Cassandra Foens, Radiation Oncologist. “With a broad spectrum of new capabilities, TrueBeam breaks the mold in just about every dimension, making it possible for us to offer faster, more targeted treatments to tumors even as they move and change over time.”

With dose delivery rates that are 40–140 percent higher than earlier generations of Varian technology, the TrueBeam system can complete a treatment commensurately faster. This makes it possible to offer greater patient comfort by shortening treatments, and to improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery. “Intelligent” automation further speeds treatments with an up to fivefold reduction in the number of steps needed for image guidance and dose delivery. 

Complex treatments that once took 15 minutes or more can be completed in less than two minutes once the patient is in position. “These are significant reductions in treatment time,” said Dr. Vandana Jain, Radiation Oncologist. “Patients will spend a whole lot less time lying still, immobilized on a hard surface.

The precision of the TrueBeam system is measured in increments of less than a millimeter. This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture, which synchronizes imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery, performing accuracy checks every ten milliseconds throughout the entire treatment. Critical data points are measured continually as a treatment progresses, ensuring that the system maintains a “true isocenter,” or focal point of treatment.

For lung and other tumors subject to respiratory motion, TrueBeam offers RapidArc® radiotherapy, which makes it possible to monitor patient breathing and compensate for tumor motion while quickly delivering dose during a continuous rotation around the patient. “During the last decade, lung cancer became the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States,” said Dr. Foens. “With TrueBeam, we can treat a moving lung tumor as if it were standing still. We expect this to make a meaningful difference for lung cancer patients in the area.”

TrueBeam imaging technology can produce the three-dimensional images used to fine-tune tumor targeting in 60% less time. Additional functionality makes it possible to create images using 25% less X-ray dose. “Imaging is an essential part of modern-day, targeted radiotherapy,” explained Dr. Jain. “This machine allows us to choose an imaging mode that minimizes the amount of X-rays needed to generate an image—and that’s good for our patients.”

TrueBeam can be used for radiotherapy treatments including image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery (IGRT and IGRS), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT),  and RapidArc® radiotherapy. 

“With TrueBeam, we can select the optimal treatment for every type of cancer,” said Dr. Foens. “This is a breakthrough that lets us bring a wider spectrum of advanced radiotherapy treatment options to many more patients. It represents a quantum leap in our ability to help people fight cancer.” 

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - Iowa (Wheaton Iowa) is a faith-based 511-bed, not-for-profit, comprehensive medical/surgical health care provider offering acute levels of medical care at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo; Sartori Memorial Hospital in Cedar Falls, and Mercy hospital in Oelwein. Its services in the region also include Covenant Clinic with more than 107 primary care and specialty providers; Covenant Foundation, Sartori Health Care Foundation and Mercy Hospital Foundation. Areas of excellence include cardiology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, maternity and NICU, cancer treatment, minimally invasive and Bariatric surgery. The Iowa operations have been part of a 140 year system of care sponsored by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, formerly incorporated in 1983. In 2016, the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters transferred their Iowa operations to Mercy Health Network, an Iowa-based health care system based out of Des Moines, Iowa.

Mercy Health Network (MHN) is an integrated system of member hospitals and other health and patient care facilities united into one operating organization to improve the delivery of healthcare services to the people of Iowa and adjoining states. MHN’s sponsors own and operate medical centers and other services in Clinton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Mason City, and Sioux City and community hospitals in six other locations. In addition, MHN has 27 members who participate through contracts for management and other services. Mercy Health Network (MHN) was founded in 1998 under a joint operating agreement between two of the largest Catholic, not-for-profit health organizations in the United States: Catholic Health Initiatives, based in Englewood, Colorado, and Trinity Health, based in Livonia, Michigan.

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