IMPT: a new acronym we’re all going to need to learn

Back in the mid-1990s there was 3D-CRT (three-dimensional conformal beam radiation therapy), the first type of external beam radiation designed to “shape” the way that beams of radiation were used to treat the prostate in conformance with the actual shape of the individual prostate. Since then, when it comes to0 dealing with external beam radiation, we have gradually learned to deal with IMRT (intensity-modulated radiation therapy), IGRT (image-guided radiation therapy), and SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy). The latest acronym in this expanding list is IMPT, which stands for intensity modulated proton therapy. In other words, it is similar to IMRT but uses protons instead of photons, through a process known as pencil beam scanning technology.

According to a media release earlier today from Varian Medical Systems — one of the big players in the world of radiation therapy, the company has received clearance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to market their Varian Proton Therapy System (a.k.a., ProBeam™) which they describe as “the first working system capable of delivering precise intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT).”

Varian’s scanning beam IMPT technology has been used for some time at the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center in Munich, Germany, where it has now been employed in the treatment of several hundred patients.

Varian’s IMPT system is already expected to be the technology used at several proton therapy centers currently under development, including the Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego (which expects to be operational in  2013) and centers planned in Maryland, in Italy, and in other centers in Europe and the U.S.

One Response

  1. Has anybody been treated for prostate cancer at the center they mention — the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center? Do they focus on the tumor with the scanned beam? Did you have any side effects? It sounds like they have the most “advanced” proton treatment, but I haven’t seen any good data or experiences posted yet.

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