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MediaService Digital Industries Newsroom

Tackling cancer – Tumor therapy using Siemens technology for targeted and gentle radiation

Varian Medical Systems Imaging Laboratory GmbH leads the way in the development of radiation equipment typically used in treating lung cancer.

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a shock to all those involved. However, many types of cancer can now be well treated with constantly improving medication and technological developments such as the TrueBeam machine. It directs ionized radiation onto the tumor causing its cells to die. However, with lung cancer, the tumor moves with each breath. Conventional radiation equipment, which emits constant radiation once activated, means that healthy tissue and sensitive organs such as the heart can be irradiated with each breath. This is not the case with TrueBeam.

Access points from the Siemens Scalance portfolio provide reliable communication between the VCD and the TrueBeam system. Tumors which move with breathing represent a particular challenge in radiation therapy. The Scalance W774-1 access points are insensitive to the scattered radiation which occurs as well as neutrons – an important criterion for error-free operation.

Keeping an eye on breathing

In order to ensure the device can operate to its optimum capacity, it helps if the patient breathes evenly, something which many people find difficult due to agitation or nervousness. The VCD tablet is a useful aid here: It is wirelessly connected to the TrueBeam device via Scalance W774-1 access points. “A camera assesses the movement of the patient’s breathing,” explains Benjamin Wyrsch, Hardware Developer at Varian. The data from the camera is sent to the VCD so that the patient can see it in real time. In most instances, this process makes it easier for the patient to control her breathing. The access points transmit the data at rates of up to 300 Mbit per second which ensures the data is transmitted in real time without any disruption.

In order to breathe as evenly as possible during treatment, the patient is given a Visual Coaching Device (VCD), a tablet which displays her breathing pattern in real time and allows her to control it more easily. The long availability of spare parts ensures a quick return on investment and international approval of all components makes it easier for these machines to be used across the globe.

Robust and internationally approved

It may not be immediately obvious, but the installation conditions for the access points are harsh. It is not possible to avoid a certain degree of scattered radiation during treatment. In addition to this, neutrons also occur with this type of therapy. The access points must be able to resist both of these in order to function without error and reliably. The Siemens technology has passed the necessary tests for this with flying colors and without any failures. Apart from this, Siemens and Varian guarantee the product’s availability for a minimum of ten years which means that it is worth clinics investing in the TrueBeam equipment. This international approval of all the components makes it easier for these machines to be used across the globe.
MediaService application reports may be based on previously published Siemens technical articles.


Ursula Lang

Digital Industries

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