First U.S. Proton Center to Incorporate Vertical CT Imaging Technology
In October 2016, the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center implemented a new approach to using standard computed tomography (CT) imaging technology for use in treatment planning.
Until now, lung cancer patients undergoing CT scanning and proton therapy normally were typically treated in a supine position. Research shows that when patients are imaged in an upright position compared to a supine, or laying position, motion within the chest was reduced and absolute lung volumes increased.
Using a ceiling-mounted CT scanning system, along with an in-house designed treatment chair, this new technique allows proton therapy treatment planning images to be taken with patients in a seated position. Since absolute lung volumes are larger in the upright position, we expect to better target lung tumors and minimize radiation to healthy lung tissue and adjacent organs resulting in lower toxicity.
Benefits for Patients
Patients undergoing treatment for lung cancer, tumors in the middle of the chest (mediastinum), and possibly some head and neck cancers are initial candidates for use of the vertical CT in treatment planning.
The seated position for imaging and treatment is expected to:
- Provide a greater degree of comfort for the patient during treatment
- Decrease tumor motion making the proton treatments more precise