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Billings Clinic treats patients using advanced technology for image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery

Versatile new Trilogy™ and RapidArc™ Systems from Varian Medical Systems optimized for both conventional and stereotactic approaches for treating cancer and other conditions

Billings, MT - Billings Clinic has begun treating patients with advanced technology for image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and radiosurgery (SRS/SBRT) for cancer and inoperable brain and lung cancers. Radiation oncologists at the Billings Clinic Cancer Center are treating patients using the powerful new Trilogy linear accelerator and imaging systems from Varian Medical Systems, which makes it possible to deliver a wide range of ultra-precise treatments with great speed. The Trilogy System uses several types of cutting edge radiotherapy technologies which allow physicians to treat patients in similar fashion as Cyberknife™ and Tomotherapy™. The Billings Clinic Cancer Center is the first in the state of Montana to bring the Trilogy System and to use all of its tools to treat our cancer patients.

Versatile new Trilogy™ and RapidArc™ Systems from Varian Medical Systems optimized for both conventional and stereotactic approaches for treating cancer and other conditions“These state-of-the-art systems will enable us to treat patients with the most advanced radiotherapy techniques, using the most clinically efficient processes in the world,” said John Schallenkamp, MD, radiation oncologist at the Billings Clinic Cancer Center. “It provides us with tremendous versatility and precision for customizing treatments according to the specifics of each patient’s case.”

The Trilogy system is the most powerful, precise, and versatile treatment solution ever provided by one product. In addition to delivering conventional forms of radiation therapy, Trilogy can be used for stereotactic radiosurgery for treating very small tumors quickly and with unprecedented precision. Trilogy allows radiation oncologists to treat tumors in the brain and lung that may typically not have been able to be removed with surgery. Physicians can now treat a patient with accuracy that is as small as a grain of salt. Due to this accuracy, patients can generally go back to their normal daily activities the following day. Trilogy allows for greater accuracy and less recovery time as compared to surgery.

IGRT - or image-guided radiotherapy - is one of the advanced forms of radiation therapy currently available. Tumors can move between treatments (usually due to day-to-day variations in patient setup). Trilogy delivers IGRT using advanced imaging techniques to verify patient and tumor position at the time of treatment. Knowing exactly where the tumor is allows clinicians to reduce the volume of tissue irradiated, targeting only the tumor and sparing the surrounding normal tissue. Irradiating less normal tissue reduces the toxicity of radiation therapy, improving the patient’s quality of life, and help to make it possible to deliver higher radiation doses to the tumor and thereby increase the likelihood of local tumor control. This GPS navigation system for monitoring tumors helps to ensure that the tumor is being treated and not other vital organs.

Trilogy can also deliver treatments using a technique called RapidArc. Rapid Arc is a fast, precise cancer treatment used to deliver image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT) by rotating around a patient. This allows clinicians to deliver precise forms of radiotherapy in 2 to 3 minutes versus 20-30 minutes with conventional systems. RapidArc quickly delivers a complete IMRT treatment in a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. The entire tumor volume receives the radiation dose in one revolution of the machine. Billings Clinic is the only facility in the state of Montana to have and use this technology.

“These important tracking and targeting technologies will enable us to treat lesions that might not have been treatable in the past,” said Dr. Schallenkamp. “We’ll be able to protect healthy tissues to an unprecedented degree.”

  Stereotactic Approaches to Treatment

The Trilogy linear accelerator is also optimized for stereotactic applications in the brain, spine, lung, or other parts of the body that involve delivering higher doses of radiation to smaller areas over short periods of time. “Stereotactic approaches are generally most appropriate for smaller lesions,” said Christopher Goulet, MD, radiation oncologist at the Billings Clinic Cancer Center. “Better diagnostic tools are making it possible for us to find tumors much earlier, when they’re still fairly small, so stereotactic radiotherapies are likely to play a much larger role in the future of cancer care.”

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