The Clarity system for tracking prostate positioning during radiation therapy

As many of our readers will be aware, one of the great advances in radiation therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer has been the development of systems that allow targeting and delivery of radiation to the prostate with far greater accuracy than used to be the case back in the 1990s.

One of the key methods used to accomplish such improvement in accuracy has been the use of inert (often gold), “fiducial” markers and other markers, implanted in the prostate prior to initiation of radiation therapy, so that even if the prostate moves during a specific session of radiation, the position of the prostate cancer be tracked with great accuracy and the dose can still be delivered with comparable accuracy. This is the basis for widely used systems like the Calypso system that was adopted a few years ago by many radiation oncology clinics for use in combination with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) equipment.

Apparently, in the past year or so, a new system called Clarity has been introduced by a Swedish company called Elektra. The supposed advantage of the Clarity system is that it is an entirely software-based system that does not require implantation of any type of marker prior to radiation therapy and may, according to some media reports, have particular benefits when it comes to the radiation therapy of patients who are overweight, on blood thinners or have implants.

To date, The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink has not seen very much scientific data on the clinical benefits of the Clarity system compared to other systems such as Calypso. However, even if it is only as good as Calypso, the fact that it does not require the implantation of any form of marker to facilitate tracking the position and movement of the prostate is a definite benefit for the patient.

Here are some links that will allow readers to get some background on the Clarity system. You should note that there is an obvious “marketing” slant to much of this type of material, so be cautious about some of the claims that are made in these links:

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