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Revolutionary Machine at Hahne Regional Cancer Center
March 3, 2014
DuBOIS - Penn Highlands Healthcare announced today that it has made a significant investment toward improving cancer care for its patients. Hahne Regional Cancer Center has acquired the TrueBeam system, an innovative system that enables a radically different approach to treating cancer with image-guided radiotherapy.

Hahne is a service of Penn Highlands DuBois, formerly DuBois Regional Medical Center, and provides oncology services for the four affiliate hospitals of Penn Highlands Healthcare in Brookville, Clearfield, DuBois and St. Marys.

The TrueBeam system, from Varian Medical Systems, was engineered to deliver more powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. It uniquely integrates new imaging and motion management technologies that make it possible to deliver treatments more quickly while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion. The new equipment, currently being installed at Hahne, opens the door to new possibilities for the treatment of lung, breast, prostate, head and neck, as well as other cancers that are treatable with radiotherapy. It will be operational in early March.

Radiation therapy patients receiving treatments at Hahne are currently being transported to the Nathaniel D. Yingling M.D. Cancer Center in Clearfield. The Yingling center is also an affiliate of Penn Highlands Healthcare. Medical oncology patients, such as those receiving chemotherapy, at both centers will not be affected by these changes.

 “It's amazing the advancements we've made in radiation therapy over the last decade," Penn Highlands Radiation Oncologist Albert Lee, MD, said. "The investment that Penn Highlands has made in the new system will add another important weapon in our fight against cancer at Hahne. TrueBeam is a real game-changer that will enable us to treat even the most challenging cases with unprecedented speed and precision.”


Faster Treatments

With dose delivery rates that are 40–140 percent higher than earlier technology, the TrueBeam system can complete a treatment much faster. This makes it possible to offer greater patient comfort by shortening treatments and to improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery. “Intelligent” automation also reduces the number of steps needed for image guidance and dose delivery, which also greatly increases the speed of the treatment. 

Simple treatments that once took 15 minutes or more can be completed in less than two minutes once the patient is in position. “These are significant reductions in treatment time,” said Lee. "Patients will spend a whole lot less time lying still, immobilized on a hard surface.”

Enhanced Precision  

The precision of the new system at Hahne is measured in increments of less than a millimeter. This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated construction, which synchronizes imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery. The system also performs accuracy checks every ten milliseconds throughout the entire treatment where critical points are measured continually as a treatment progresses. This ensures that the system maintains the appropriate focal point of treatment at all times.

The machine quickly delivers the dose while maintaining a continuous rotation around the patient. Hahne experts expect this new therapy system to make a meaningful difference for patients in the area.

Faster Imaging at Lower Doses

The new imaging technology being installed at Hahne can also produce the three-dimensional images used to fine-tune the treatment plan in 60 percent less time. Another function of this technology makes it possible to create images using 25 percent less x-ray dose for the patient.

 “Imaging is an essential part of modern-day, targeted radiation therapy,” explained Lee. “This machine allows us to choose a way to take the needed images that can minimize the amount of x-rays needed to generate that image - and that’s good for our patients.

"We can select the optimal treatment for every type of cancer,” said Lee. “This is a breakthrough that lets us bring a wider spectrum of advanced treatment options to many more patients. It represents a quantum leap in our ability to help people fight cancer.”

Same Quality and Compassion

All of the amenities that Hahne patients receive during their treatments will remain a top priority for the staff. Because Hahne is located at the Penn Highlands DuBois campus, patients are able to take advantage of any on-site service such as nutrition counselling and pastoral care. Hospital sponsored door-to-door transportation service is also available free to patients who have no other means of transportation and choose to receive care at the center.

"We are always looking to improve the way we provide care at Penn Highlands," Laura Adams, director of both Penn Highlands' cancer centers, said. "I am so proud that Hahne now has this advanced equipment so we can better serve the patients of this region and help them take on cancer in the best way possible."

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