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UCI: Uganda Purchases, Installs First Ever TrueBeam Radiotherapy Machine in Africa



The Uganda Cancer Institute management has today flagged off the installation of the TrueBeam radiotherapy machine, the first of its kind in Africa.

The machine, which has been purchased by the government of Uganda at 3.2 million US dollars is an addition to two other radiotherapy machines that are used for cancer treatment at the Institute.

“Once the machine starts operation in December 2020, cancer treatment will greatly improve as this machine provides image guided stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy with high precision to treat tumours and lesions in various parts of the body, including lungs, breasts, head, and neck,” Dr. Jackson Orem, the Executive Director Uganda Cancer Institute said.

Ugandans who have had the need for this kind of treatment, Orem noted, had to travel to AghaKhan Hospital in Nairobi but the Institute has been able to acquire even a more sophisticated machine that will avail all the services.

The machine is being installed by engineers from Turkey who arrived in the country over the weekend. It will be operated by a team of oncologists who have been specifically trained on this machine use in Israel.

The Executive Director further appreciated the government for enabling these engineers to come to the country and install the machine despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, something that indicates that the government takes cancer care very seriously.

Speaking at the handover ceremony for installation of the machine, the Engineers represented by Mr. Isaac Shashec promised to deliver work as expected on this first unique project in Africa.

About the Truebeam Radiotherapy Machine

The TrueBeam Radiotherapy machine

TrueBeam radiotherapy device consists of two main components: a beam-producing system for producing photon, electron, and diagnostic x-ray radiation, and a control panel.

The beam-producing system is installed in a vault in the healthcare settings to provide shielding from radiation, while the control panel that uses the device software is placed outside the treatment room.

The system is equipped with six rotational couches, a motion management interface (MMI), and a visual coaching device. Furthermore, it contains an entire suite of Cone-Beam (CB) CT (CBCT) imaging including 4D CBCT, gated CBCT imaging, short ARC CBCT, extended length CBCT, and multi-scan CBCT acquisition.

Details of the intelligent tools

HyperArc™ high-definition radiation therapy is an advanced solution for intracranial stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). It is utilised by Varian’s TrueBeam and Eclipse™ platforms. It delivers the treatment with a single click of the panel and has pre-defined imaging waypoints for complex treatment.

RapidArc, also known as the Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) radiotherapy technology, delivers 3D dose distributed to an entire tumour. It has a high precision of less than two minutes. It uses 360° rotational gantry in single or multiple arcs for treatment delivery.

The device also uses the iterative CBCT (iCBCT) technology, an improved form of the CBCT technology. It combines Acuros Computed Tomography Scatter (CTS), reduces scatter contribution and improves image quality.

The technology improves the visualisation of soft tissue of the pelvis, head, and neck. The device also integrates the ARIA® oncology information system and the Eclipse™ treatment planning system. This helps clinicians simplify and manage treatment planning.

Some of the engineers working on the installation.

Benefits of TrueBeam radiotherapy system

TrueBeam radiotherapy system helps patients to heal in fewer sessions such as one to five for a patient compared to 20 to 40 sessions of conventional radiation therapy (dependent upon the type of tumour). Shorter sessions lower the risk of side effects in patients.

Planned treatment can be customized and synchronized in real-time according to the patient’s condition during radiotherapy by dynamic imaging enhanced by 2D, 3D, and 4D imaging capabilities of the device.

The motion management interface allows clinicians to know the exact position of treatment delivery. This improves the precision and accuracy of the treatment.

The CBDT technologies allow for better imaging of moving targets such as lung and abdomen, advancing breath-hold stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), as well as extra cranial radiosurgery.

The system can be used to provide various types of radiation treatments. These include intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), SBRT, and RapidArc radiotherapy as elaborated by Source- Varian Medical systems.

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