June 8, 2017

Blas Caroprese, physicist; Davana Eaton, clinic manager; Dr. Bruce Ellerin, radiation oncologist; Brandi Jones, RN; Irene Sanchez, radiation therapist and Pushkar Desai, physicist

The ETMC Cancer Institute in Athens unveiled this week new state-of-the-art radiation technology, the Elekta Infinity linear accelerator, to treat cancer patients.

“One benefit of this new accelerator is shorter treatment times,” said Dr. Bruce Ellerin, board-certified radiation oncologist. “Shorter treatment times improve patient comfort, but also reduce inaccuracies resulting from patient movement during treatment delivery. A conventional intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) takes around 19 minutes, but with the Elekta treatment time ranges from two to five minutes.”

The Elekta Infinity also delivers precision dose conformance with ultra-low doses of radiation making it safer for the patient. In addition, the Elekta gives more flexibility to control the treatment parameters, while the beam is on and rotating, to optimize the dose around a tumor and better spare healthy issue.

“The new accelerator is better for patient positioning, which is important where high precision is necessary for certain procedures,” said Ellerin. “The machine is capable of producing three different high energy X-ray beams. This helps with planning and calculation for each patient’s procedure to correctly deliver the right amount of treatment.”

The Elekta Infinity accelerator is capable of advanced treatment, such as rotational IMRT and some stereotactic body radiation therapy, which previously were not available in Athens.

About ETMC Cancer Institute

ETMC began offering cancer services in Tyler in 1982, and acquired what became the ETMC Cancer Institute in Athens in 2009. The 9,600-square-foot facility employs a full clinical staff.

Radiation therapy provides techniques for destroying abnormal cells. In many instances, radiation therapy is the single best method for the treatment and cure of cancer. Radiation therapy may also be combined with surgery and/or chemotherapy to cure or control the disease. In other cases, radiation therapy can be used as a supportive measure to reduce discomfort, bleeding or pain.

More than 21,000 cancer patients have been treated at the ETMC Cancer Institute by an expert team of health specialists, including physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, nurses and other support personnel. The team is led by the radiation oncologist, a physician who specializes in the treatment of cancer with radiation. This specialist decides what type of radiation therapy is best, plans the treatments and carefully monitors each patient.