CRAWLEY, England, April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) techniques have enhanced radiotherapy precision, Elekta continues working to decrease treatment session times through automated IGRT tools. Odense University Hospital (OUH, Odense, Denmark) clinicians are the first in the world to use a 3D seed matching feature of Elekta's Intuity(TM) IGRT package. The software quickly and automatically pinpoints the position of gold seeds that doctors implant in the prostate to confirm the organ's position before each treatment.

3D detection provides boost to proven gold seed method

Because the prostate can shift position inside the body, implanted gold seeds - also known as fiducial markers - have been used as a fixed standard of reference for comparison or measurement every time the patient has their radiation treatment. In contrast to soft tissues such as the prostate, the gold seeds are more easily visualized using 3D cone beam CT. Localizing the prostate's position in this way can help doctors reduce treatment margins around the prostate, reducing toxicity to the rectum and bladder and resulting in fewer side effects.

Not only does the software's automation ensure that the procedure is executed quickly and without human error, it also is superior to current methods:

-- Due to the markers' high contrast, clinicians can use a low dose - comparable to that of 2D techniques - to perform the scan -- At maximum speed, the 3D scan is rapid, therefore the time to acquire the scan and register the markers is comparable to 2D methods -- The 3D technique clearly separates the markers, avoiding the possibility that a marker will obscure another, a problem noted using 2D techniques

OUH clinicians have been using 3D seed matching with success since January 2010 on three (of four) Elekta Synergy(R) systems on which Intuity is installed.

 "Previously, we were manually matching the markers' position on the planning scans with their position on the cone beam CT scan that we acquire with the patient on the treatment table," says Knud Aage Werenberg, head physicist at OUH. "This only took about two minutes, but 3D seed matching takes about half the time. It is really fast and the results are more consistent because the task is automated. Equally important, the patient spends less time on the treatment table."