ASTRO 2023 Buzz Report
As the curtains close on ASTRO 2023, it’s time to reflect on the profound strides made in the realm of radiation therapy. This year’s event was nothing short of groundbreaking, with the spotlight firmly on the innovative triad of radiation therapy advancements, trailblazing technologies, and the integration of artificial intelligence. Attendees were immersed in a world where cutting-edge science met compassionate care, paving the way for a future where precision, efficiency, and patient-centric approaches redefine the landscape of oncological treatments. Below, we unravel the key themes and extraordinary developments we saw at ASTRO 2023 that are reshaping the future of cancer care.
Traditionally, skin cancer is treated with surgery, but when surgery is not an option, Xstrahl’s Radiant Aura offers superficial radiation therapy to be delivered in the dermatologist’s office for basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Radiant Aura is the first dual-modality surface radiation therapy system offering a non-surgical treatment alternative that’s smart, simple and successful. It features a compact footprint, dual treatment configurations, and a shortened treatment course. The small, easy-to-position radiation therapy system delivers non-invasive treatment and is perfectly suited for sensitive, hard-to-reach areas on the head and neck.
GammaTile Therapy by GT Medical Technologies is a radiation treatment specifically designed for use inside the brain and gives patients new hope in the fight against brain tumors. Your neurosurgeon places the resorbable collagen GammaTile(s) precisely where and when treatment will help the most—at the tumor site, immediately after tumor removal. Radiation is focused right where the tumor is most likely to recur. Treatment occurs as you go about your daily life and the tile is absorbed by the body after the radiation is fully emitted.
HistoSonics, Inc. developed a non-invasive process by which focused sound energy creates a bubble cloud from gasses naturally present in targeted tissue, also known as histotripsy. These bubble clouds form and collapse in microseconds, creating mechanical forces strong enough to destroy tissue at cellular and subcellular levels in a non-invasive and non-thermal method. HistoSonics’ Edison delivers histotripsy to patients in an outpatient setting, avoiding use of ionizing energy of radiation, heat damage, incision or needles.
Empyrean Medical Systems is disrupting the brachytherapy and intracavitary radiation treatment with Morpheus, a mobile platform that rapidly delivers a conformal therapeutic dose to a planned treatment volume. Robotically assisted technology with soon to come onboard imaging makes treatment easy and precise. Morpheus offers a fast-forwarding perioperative RT for the modern workflow.
For the management of Radiation Dermatitis, Stratpharma introduced their silicone based product to their portfolio. StrataXRT dries to form a thin, flexible, protective layer that is gas permeable and waterproof. This helps to promote a moist wound healing environment because it minimizes the Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) of the skin. A thin layer at the initial treatment and throughout the duration of therapy has shown a 41% reduced risk of developing a stage 2 skin toxicity and 49% reduction in a grade 3. StrataXRT is indicated for use on all types of radiation dermatitis, toxic and compromised skin and superficial wounds resulting from radiation therapy.
Trailblazing Technologies and Innovation
DoseOptics captures every moment of a patient’s radiation therapy, from start to finish. Their innovative technology, BeamSite, solves one of the biggest problems in radiation oncology: not being able to visualize the beam in real time during administration. With BeamSite, the radiation therapist can see any stray radiation in out of field regions to correct an unintended dose to the wrong location. By leveraging the power of Cherenkov imaging technology, DoseOptics provides clinical teams with the ability to see the delivery of radiation–for the first time ever.
MacroMedics designs products for high precision treatments. Their new frame, the DSPS-Prominent MR Safe system, offers 360 degrees of freedom, is 100% personalized, lightweight, and offers a sleek design to enable reference-frame compatibility. This reduces translations and rotations in the head, neck and shoulder region, providing improved reproducibility and above all increased comfort. The DSPS-Prominent MR Safe system is suitable for use with all common imaging and treatment modalities.
Teleflex recently acquired Barrigel, allowing for more opportunity to address concerns of Urologists, BPH and Prostate Cancer side effects. Hydrogel spacers, like Barrigel, are a new technique designed to reduce bowel injury from radiation. They accomplish this by providing a space between the rectum and the prostate. This biodegradable injectable device doesn’t just reduce side effects to the bowel. Patients are also reporting a reduction in urinary and sexual symptoms.
Traditional metal pedicle screw constructs create artifacts during radiation therapy, which require longer planning time and uncertainties in tumor delineation. CarboFix spine implants are made of continuous carbon fibers reinforced polymer. This is important as it allows for no backscatter or radiation attenuation during therapy to the spinal cord. Tumors then receive maximum radiation with minimal collateral damage.
Independent and highly accurate, IMSure 3D Software is an automated Monte Carlo based secondary check software solution that allows physicists to save time during their QA routine by automatically importing, calculating, and generating reports ready for review within minutes. Automated, time-saving workflow produces 3D dose calculations in minutes with reliable results regarding treatment plan quality. What sets IMSure 3D™ Software apart is its proprietary multi-core CPU based variance reduction, allowing for remarkably rapid calculations.
Leading with Artificial Intelligence
Contour quality is arguably the most important factor for any automatic contouring solution. Limbus AI’s Limbus Contour uses state of the art machine learning approaches to harness the power of curated clinical datasets. The technology produces automatic, expert grade organ-at-risk and lymph node region contours. To help maintain robust performance on a wide range of scans, Limbus Contour models are fine tuned through routine clinical evaluation and re-training with new structures and improved models added frequently.
Radformation offers automation software that enables cancer clinics to do more in less time. Their AutoContour generates fast, accurate, AI-driven, deep-learning contours, with 200 of the most common structures pre-loaded to jumpstart the planning process. The technology comes ready-to-go with 200 CT & MR structure models, from head to femur, ensuring rapid implementation for treatment planning-ready contours in minutes.