On-board imaging (OBI) is an innovative technique that uses images to confirm that a patient’s radiation therapy setup accurately reflects the patient’s treatment plan. Immediately prior to each treatment session, a radiation therapist uses a built-in CT scanner to take a series of images of the patient’s tumor. After evaluating the images, a radiation oncologist can recommend any necessary adjustments to the patient’s positioning on the treatment table or to the programmed settings of the linear accelerator (the machine that delivers the radiation beams).
Without on-board imaging technology, it is usually necessary to treat a larger area of a patient’s body around a tumor site to compensate for any tumor movement. By helping to ensure that a patient’s radiation treatment targets the smallest possible area, on-board imaging can enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of radiation therapy, minimize the exposure sustained by surrounding healthy tissues and, in turn, reduce the likelihood of side effects.
On-board imaging is also beneficial because it is:
- Real-time – On-board imaging allows a patient’s treatment team to continually monitor the patient’s tumor using current, high-resolution images, and to refine the patient’s treatment plan on an ongoing basis as needed.
- Convenient – Because the imaging equipment is either mounted directly on the linear accelerator or located nearby in the treatment room, there is no need for a patient to move between an imaging center and the radiation delivery area.
- Quick – This advanced technology makes it easier and less time-consuming for a radiation therapist to properly position a patient for treatment.
Of course, like any other new treatment technology, on-board imaging is only as effective as the people behind the equipment. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer the latest advances in radiation delivery, but we firmly believe that it is the treatment team that makes the true difference. Our multispecialty tumor board includes radiation oncologists, dosimetrists, medical physicists, radiation therapists and other medical professionals who have the technical expertise necessary to precisely develop and administer advanced radiation treatments. Each member is highly experienced in treating a specific type of cancer, as well as a specific aspect of the planning and delivery process. Additionally, we individualize each patient’s radiation therapy plan based on the type and stage of the cancer and other unique factors, which further helps to improve outcomes and quality of life.