Clinical trials for the new machine that might one day change the way metastatic cancer patients are treated expected to open next year.
DUARTE, Calif. — City of Hope is among the first in the nation to adopt a new radiotherapy technology that is expected to one day change the way metastatic cancer patients are treated.
Most radiotherapy technology cannot see all tumors, which is why physicians aim destructive beams of therapy at only one or two tumors at a time. City of Hope’s newly purchased RefleXion X1 is the first-ever platform that will combine targeted radiation therapy with positron-emission tomography (PET) imaging—today’s best cancer staging and imaging technique. The hope is that the machine will one day enable doctors to deliver biology-guided radiotherapy (BgRT), a treatment where tumor byproducts are detected in real-time and radiation beams are aimed at each tumor to destroy it, even if the disease is moving because the patient is breathing.
“If we think of cancer as enemy combatants hiding in the jungle at night, biology-guided radiotherapy is like a group of veteran snipers wearing thermal imaging goggles to see all opponents regardless of where they’re hiding or going,” said Jeffrey Wong, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at City of Hope. “These sharp shooters can then precisely target the enemy for a kill.”