SWFL doctor uses new technology to help direct radiation treatments for cancer


A Southwest Florida radiology group is the first community-based center in the country using a new “smart system” technology. The concept of personalized medicine is being put into practice with a new and precise way of administering radiation for cancer.

Modern radiation systems deliver high-power doses of energy that essentially destroy tissue. When directed at cancerous tumors, it’s a killer.

Dr. Arie Dosoretz Radiation Oncologist, Advocate Radiation Oncology said, “So radiation is a very powerful tool. Radiation can damage both good things and bad things.”

Pin-pointing radiation is pushing the needle of oncology. Dr. Dosoretz uses technology to precisely direct treatment.

“Sometimes healthy tissue is right next to a tumor that’s grown. So the spinal cord, the heart, the normal lung tissue, any normal organ, can be affected by radiation doses. Obviously, the more radiation you get to a normal organ, the higher the risk that you can damage that organ,” said Dosoretz.

Dosoretz’s practice is the first in the country to use a new smart system called ‘identify’. A combination of hardware and software tool that generates a 3-D model of a patient’s body, allowing technicians to make real-time adjustments for even the slightest movements.

“You can actually see exactly where the body is, and where it’s supposed to be. And it can be as something is having somebody hold their breath, it can be as simple as having somebody slightly move their arm or their head or their neck, and you can then position someone into the position they need to be,” said Dosoretz.

Tracking and mapping are extremely useful in certain cancers. Years ago, it became apparent that many women who had radiation for left-sided breast cancer later developed serious heart conditions. Knowing exactly where the heart is, helps protect it from damage.

“When a woman takes a deep breath, the heart sort of moves away from the breast, usually, and we’re able to use that deep breath to avoid treating the heart with any meaningful dose of radiation. Sometimes we can avoid the heart entirely,” said Dosoretz.

The smart technology doesn’t unleash radiation beams until the patient is in the exact position.

Byron Doyle Radiation Therapist said, “Identify tells us you need x, y, and z. And if we don’t have it, it will not let us proceed.”

Shielding harmful rays avoids unnecessary side effects.

“Our goal for all of our patients is to make sure that we can keep them around as healthy as they can be for many, many years to come,” said Dosoretz.

Advocate Radiation Oncology, which is headquartered in Southwest Florida, is now a reference site for this technology. Practices around the country are learning from how they use it.

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