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Mitchell Cancer Institute launches new radiation technology for patients

Mitchell Cancer Institute launches new radiation technology for patients

The Versa HD allows for greater accuracy, ease of setup and shorter radiation treatment times.

Published May 10th, 2023

By Carol McPhail

In an effort to provide enhanced care for patients, the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute on Wednesday unveiled $2.5 million in innovative technology with the Elekta Versa HD, a medical linear accelerator that aims radiation at cancer cells while sparing the surrounding tissue.

“The Versa HD is the newest radiation delivery system on the Gulf Coast and provides state-of-the-art treatments to the patients we serve,” said Martin J. Heslin, M.D., M.S.H.A., director of the Mitchell Cancer Institute. “We are proud to offer this technology and happy that we can lead the region with world-class cancer care.”

The new Versa HD and a similar machine at MCI’s Fairhope location are the only linear accelerators in south Alabama made by the Swedish company Elekta. The equipment is part of MCI’s broader effort to implement the latest technology in radiation oncology.

“Utilization of this machine allows for optimization of the already comprehensive array of radiation therapy services we offer at the MCI and enables us to continue to push the boundaries of what modern technology has to offer,” said Adam Huddleston, M.D., radiation oncologist and assistant professor of interdisciplinary clinical oncology.

Using the Versa HD, the radiation oncology team at the MCI can create a 3D digital sculpture detailing how doses of radiation will be delivered to a patient’s tumor. During treatment, the patient lies on a robotic table that can be adjusted using six-dimensional repositioning. The Versa HD uses a surface-guided arm, can target very small tumors, and adjusts based on a patient’s breathing. Such precision helps to spare surrounding tissue and reduces side effects for patients.

“This technology allows for much greater accuracy, ease of setup and shorter treatment times,” said Robert A. Gilbert, M.D., a radiation oncologist and assistant professor of clinical oncology at the MCI. “This makes treatment more accurate and more convenient for the patient.”

One of the most common treatments for cancer, radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It may be used by itself or with other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy.

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