Tumors in the chest and abdomen move during respiration. The ability of conventional radiation therapy systems to compensate for respiratory motion by moving the radiation source is inherently limited. Since safety margins currently used in radiation therapy increase the radiation dose by a very large amount, an accurate tracking method for following the motion of the tumor is of the utmost clinical relevance. We investigate methods to compensate for respiratory motion using robotic radiosurgery. Thus, the therapeutic beam is moved by a robotic arm, and follows the moving target tumor. To determine the precise position of the moving target, we combine infrared tracking with synchronized X-ray imaging. Infrared emitters are used to record the motion of the patient's skin surface. A stereo X-ray imaging system provides information about the location of internal markers. During an initialization phase (prior to treatment), the correlation between the motions observed by the two sensors (X-ray imaging and infrared tracking) is computed. This model is also continuously updated during treatment to compensate for other, non-respiratory motion. Experiments and clinical trials suggest that robot-based methods can substantially reduce the safety margins currently needed in radiation therapy.
View details for PubMedID 11029159