New Technology

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy ( IMRT)

The CHEM Center now offers IMRT treatment to patients who would benefit from its unique ability to treat tumors that are adjacent to very sensitive tissue or oddly shaped tumors. Conventional Radiotherapy is delivered using a large uniform dose of radiation which is shaped to the tumor externally using various devices. IMRT on the other hand, is composed of thousands of very fine beams (beamlets) which vary in intensity.

Key components of this system are an advanced computer program that is used to plan the dose in three dimensions based on the unique body parameters of each patient. Also needed is a specially equipped linear accelerator to shape the dose into pencil sized beamlets.

Patients who benefit from this therapy include prostate patients and head and neck patients whose difficult to reach tumors are adjacent to critical and sensitive tissue. The use of IMRT reduces the incidence of side effects while delivering the most effective radiation dose.

For more information, talk with your physician and ask them to speak with Dr. Paul McKeough about this innovative and effective technique.

IMRT displayIntensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is now offered at the CHEM Center for Radiation Therapy, in Stoneham.

IMRT is a more precise method for treating cancer while sparing surrounding structures. This State-of-the-art technique was pioneered in the 90's in Stockholm, London , Houston and at Memorial in New York. It is a highly precise technique employing hundreds of tiny 'beamlets' in place of the standard 4 or 6 beams to tailor the radiation to the cancerous tissues. This technique became commercially available in 2002 and is currently offered by a very few centers in New England. In the image shown, 110 beam segments (beamlets) are focused on a prostate through 7 beam directions. 2 additional beams serve to stereoscopically localize the prostate with sub millimeter precision. Seen in orange behind the red prostate is the rectum, a sensitive structure which the doctors are able to spare more confidently with this capability. The colored beam cross sections are seen in a 'snapshot' of a treatment - beam size and profile changes throughout this 'dynamic' treatment which lasts about 15 minutes.

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