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The Department of Radiation Oncology at UTMB Health offers ExacTrac®, which is Advanced Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) for Highly Precise Tumor Treatment.

Patient Benefits

  • Precise treatment, minimizing radiation damage to normal tissue.
  • Treatment delivery in the shortest possible timeframe.
  • Treatment that adapts to minor movements, minimizing potential treatment errors.
  • Painless treatment performed on an out-patient basis.

The Technology
ExacTrac IGRT enables physicians to pinpoint tumors with greater accuracy for more precise treatment and better patient outcomes. Traditionally, small shifts in patient movement or radiation beam alignment could result in damage to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Brainlab IGRT technology uses high-resolution X-rays to pinpoint tumors seconds before treatment, automatically correcting any patient set-up errors and tracking patient movement throughout the procedure. With this improved precision, ExacTrac enables doctors to deliver higher treatment doses within one millimeter of the tumor, protecting healthy tissue and improving long-term clinical results.

Oncologists are now able to treat a wider range of indications using ExacTrac, including prostate, lung, liver, spine and brain.

The Treatment
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) is radiation treatment that uses advanced imaging technologies to direct radiation dose delivery to a tumor. Tumor motion including respiration-induced and other random-patient movement often prevents targeted, optimum dose delivery.

ExacTrac from Brainlab offers clinicians advanced imaging technology to verify patient and tumor position at the time of treatment. Knowing exactly where the tumor is allows clinicians to reduce the amount of tissue irradiated, targeting only the tumor and sparing the surrounding normal tissue. Irradiating less normal tissue reduces the toxicity of radiotherapy, improves the patient's quality of life, and may make it possible to deliver higher radiation doses to the tumor in fewer treatment sessions.

Radiation therapy is a primary form of cancer treatment. Many cancer patients will require radiation therapy during some phase of their cancer care. A treatment team comprised of a radiation oncologist, registered radiation therapists, oncology nurses, a medical physicist and a dosimetrist work together to ensure the most effective treatment for each patient. Choosing The Department of Radiation Oncology at UTMB Health means you receive the best care possible.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is an advanced type of high-precision radiation that is the next generation of 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT). Computer-controlled x-ray accelerators distribute precise radiation doses to malignant tumors or specific areas within the tumor. The pattern of radiation delivery is determined using highly-tailored computing applications to perform optimization and treatment simulation (Treatment Planning). The radiation dose is consistent with the 3D shape of the tumor by controlling, or modulating, the radiation beam's intensity. IMRT also improves the ability to conform the treatment volume to concave tumor shapes, for example when the tumor is wrapped around a vulnerable structure such as the spinal cord or a major organ or blood vessel. The radiation dose intensity is elevated near the gross tumor volume while radiation among the neighboring normal tissue is decreased or avoided completely. The customized radiation dose is intended to maximize tumor dose while simultaneously protecting the surrounding normal tissue. Because of this, IMRT allows for higher radiation doses to be delivered to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue as compared with conventional radiation therapy techniques (2DXRT and 3DCRT). This in turn results in better tumor targeting, lessened side effects, and improved treatment outcomes than even 3DCRT.
The NOVALIS shaped beam surgery device delivers a precise dose of high-energy radiation to shrink or control the growth of a tumor by killing tumor cells. By interfering with cancer cell's ability to grow, the NOVALIS is an ideal treatment method for multiple types of cancers. Located within the Department of Radiation Oncology, it is only one of three machines in the state of Texas. The NOVALIS continuously shapes the treatment beam to match the size and shape of a patient's tumor from all angles, which ensures that the tumor receives the full prescription dose of radiation while protecting healthy tissue.

Brachytherapy is a procedure that involves placing high-powered radiation inside your body. Brachytherapy is one type of radiation therapy that's used to treat cancer. Brachytherapy is sometimes called internal radiation.

Brachytherapy allows doctors to deliver higher doses of radiation to more-specific areas of the body, compared with the conventional form of radiation therapy (external beam radiation) that projects radiation from a machine outside of your body. Brachytherapy may cause fewer side effects than does external beam radiation, and the treatment time is usually shorter with brachytherapy.