China Tax Exempts Radiation Equimpent From US Trade

Great news has come for manufacturers Varian, Accuray, and Elekta this week when China added medical linear accelerators to a list of 16 items that are exempt from the trade war that is currently happening with the U.S. Both parties are continuing to negotiate terms this week. In the article president & CEO of Varian, Dow Wilson shows gratitude with statement “Varian envisions a world without fear of cancer and we are committed to empowering our users to achieve new victories against cancer with our cancer care solutions. The exemption allows us to continue to focus on the fight against cancer.” In July, the U.S exempted other categories of medical devices such as surgical, radiotherapy and dental from the 25% tariff applied to Chinese goods. The article concluded with the list of the 16 additional items that are exempt from the tariff tax as well. This recent decision will allow cancer treatment and other cancer solutions to continue to progress and save millions of lives in the near future.

Adaptive Radiation Therapy Could Be the Answer for Future Cancer Treatment

Throughout history dating back to the early 1970’s patients diagnosed with cancer would receive standard treatment plans that would simply be based off the type of cancer, the stage of aggression and if it was characterized by spreading to other locations or not. Cancer development teams quickly learned that this procedure was not an efficient process for treatment. A cancer cure is not a one size fits all and each patient is unique so why should their treatment be any different? One form of radiation treatment that is showing progress and good promise for the future is called adaptive therapy. This type of treatment takes a personalized approach where a patient’s unique characteristics are taken into consideration and adjustments are constantly being done based on information taken from images that are taken daily so factors like tumor size, shape, and location will be targeting more efficiently. On the downside, adaptive therapy has many obstacles that are needed to overcome before this treatment can be a successful option. In this article, it is discussed further on which steps will need to be taken for adaptive therapy to continue to progress to its potential. It may not a perfect treatment method currently, but it represents something bigger for the future of healthcare and personalized abilities.

What is Equipment Relocation?

Linear accelerators and CT simulators are large, that’s obvious. Any business who has obtained an accelerator understands the headache of moving such a large and delicate machine to their offices. When moving offices or simply needing to move an accelerator from one place to another there are companies that have staff on hand who are specialized in moving this equipment so you the business owner do not have to worry about how it’s going to get done. These companies offer a range of services related to accelerator relocation so there should be a service to fit any needs a business may have.

Quality Moving

The companies that specialize in moving large equipment are specialized because of the talent on hand. These employees are specially trained to handle large equipment moving with ease and delicacy that these machines require and can do so with advanced logistics that other companies do not possess. With these logistics intact these companies can ensure your equipment is free from damage of any kind during the moving process and can move the equipment over a small area to even internationally. You’ve no-doubt seen videos of unqualified employees attempting to move large equipment and failing miserably causing thousands of dollars of damage to the company, so it pays tremendously to hire a professional relocation company that can handle the move in a professional and careful manner.

Installation         

Simply moving equipment is great, but what about those who need it and moved as well as installed in their offices? Equipment relocation isn’t just moving equipment from one place to another but also making sure the instrument is properly installed using the correct tools for the job. The machines usually involved in relocation such as linear accelerators are simply impossible to move on your own, so the crews at these relocation companies are able to use specific rigging materials to make sure the equipment is lifted and moved to right where it needs to be as carefully as can be. The process of installing the electrical components of these instruments is also handled by professional and experienced engineering specialist who can handle the job with the proper care and respect.

Testing

Once an instrument like a linear accelerator is moved to a new location and properly installed in the right spot in the office it still requires careful calibration before it can be used properly. The companies that supply relocation services also provide physics support related to calibration and testing. This completes the full suite of process and steps necessary when transporting a large instrument like a linear accelerator from one office to another and is a full suite that certain relocation companies can offer.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Key Points to Consider for Linac Removal

Removing a 25,000 lb piece of machinery from a medical clinic or hospital, what could go wrong? It can be crucial to other surrounding equipment and to your facility to have safe and efficient removal services performed so that your facility will have peace of mind knowing that this process will be handled correctly. A few tips below will help this removal process go more smoothly and will get you to the goal of out with the out and in with the new more quickly.

Removal Path

To start, cleaning of any removable clutter is always overlooked and can become an obstacle that can be avoided. Measuring will be the next step to take when its time to start moving any type of equipment. A tape measurer will be your best friend since when it comes to moving high or low energy linacs, each have a minimum requirement for the number of inches required for room clearance.  Accurately measuring all building doors including the vault and outside door along the removal path is very important. Prior to the arrival or replacement equipment, a professional vendor will request a rig info sheet to be submitted to guarantee that there is no door frames or walls that will need to be removed. If the vendor does not ask about the measurements beforehand, this is a red flag that you should be looking for equipment elsewhere.

Safety Concerns

When transporting heavy equipment at any times, the safety of the removal team is of utmost importance. If the above-mentioned measurements are done inaccurately and realize that a vault door must be removed with late notice, this will pose a very big safety hazard. Depending on size, vault doors can easily weigh a few thousand pounds and unfortunate deaths have resulted when removal of these doors have been done incorrectly. When they doors need to be removed, it is critical that they are removed by professionals that have experience in the field.  Last minute decisions for vault door removal will also cut into extra expenses that was not part of the company budget so it again if very important for the measurements to be calculated right the first time. Proper liability insurance should be provided by your vendor when on site during the removal process as well.

Loading Space

Once you have the old equipment outside the next step is often overlooked as well. The loading area needs to have enough space in order to load the linear accelerator into trailer for transportation. Facilities will typically need to block off any side streets or parking spots to allow a safe loading area. If loading space is unavailable, the removal team will need to utilize a forklift of suitable size to lift and move machinery to the trailer manually.

Facility Jobs

No matter the size or details of removal that is performed, there will be responsibilities of the facility that will be requested. Generally, the removal team will ask local facility engineers, electricians, or plumbers to turn off the water or other power sources that are attached to the specific equipment that is being removed. This will protect the office building from having potentially dangerous live power to the area and helps to not disrupt any of the surrounding rooms that lighting and power may be connected to as well. Many times, the facility will manage and schedule the removal times so that it is occurring after hours or assist in security throughout the building.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Improving LINAC Service Response Time


Linear accelerators and complex support devices are at the heart of today’s radiation oncology.  As technology continues to advance and change the way in which LINAC systems treat cancerous tumors, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the way in which equipment maintenance, malfunction, and breakdowns are managed.  The strategies to manage quality, mitigate risk and analyze failures have improved to adjust to the changing needs of radiation oncology equipment. 

Manufacturers of oncology equipment add guidelines to ensure successful management of equipment maintenance including system monitoring and cyclical measurements of key functions verse pre-specified tolerances.  This information was previously documented by hand whereas in today’s environment data can be recorded, distributed company-wide, and stored electronically. IT plays an integral role in storing and managing the data which can then be integrated into the everyday workflow in the radiation oncology department.    

Work to cultivate IT clinical management solutions in the radiation department is often done in house working in collaboration with equipment vendors.  This process is an essential component in quality management of radiation oncology equipment services

Service and support of linear accelerators are a key element in quality management in the radiation oncology department.  In most facilities, radiation therapists will report all technical problems with the LINAC to a clinical medical physicist who then reports the events of the machine’s failure to the vendor’s dispatch center to schedule support.  When this call is made the therapist or physicist reporting the LINAC failure will provide the identification of the linear accelerator, the location of the machine, and a detailed report of the problem including what issues led up to the failure..

Depending on where the machine is located, the vendors dispatch center will provide information to equipment engineers at their technical support help desk.  Together the user and engineers will attempt to diagnosis the issue at hand and coordinate actions for repair. 

Facilities looking to improve the efficiency of support and service to linear accelerators when failure occurs can implement key changes in the overall process.  These procedure modifications include:

  • Lessen the number of steps involved in reporting the LINAC failure to the vendor’s support team.
  • Reduce duplication and surplus in the diffusion of information related to the linear accelerators’ failure.
  • Record events electronically for improvement and evaluation of delivering services related to LINAC maintenance and repairs.
  • Utilize remote support from vendor approved engineers that are familiar with the installed system and its maintenance and service history.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



Elekta Coming to Canada

Elekta has announced that its MR/RT System has received its certification from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and is ready to be introduced for clinical use in Canada. The first clearance for Elekta Unity took place a little over a year ago and has changed cancer treatment throughout Europe, US, Asia and now ready to change Canada. Elekta’s Unity allows two technologies to combine using an MRI scanner along with a linear accelerator that uses advanced radiotherapy treatment software. Treatment for Canadian patients is a huge milestone for Elekta, this advancement means that more cancer patients around the world will have the opportunity to receive more efficient radiation therapy that is designed to target hard to treat cancer that perhaps in the past was not an option for some. For more information of this historical event, read this article.

The Science of Dosimetry

One of the best treatment methods for many types of cancer is done through radiotherapy. If radiation doses are too small, it could mean treatment could be ineffective but on the other hand, if the treatment is given too large than treatment can be very harmful as well. It is important for a specialist to calculate and use accurate doses of radiation on each patient for proper effectiveness and above all the patient’s safety. Dosimetry is the science of measuring and assessing the dose of radiation that is absorbed during treatment. Each clinic needs to have reliable radiation equipment that is carefully and continuously calibrated for each patient’s service to be performed. To learn more information about Dosimetry and advances it continues to make for the future you can read more in “Keeping Radiotherapy Safe and Effective: Q&A with Leading Dosimetry Expert”.

3 Tips For Installing or Replacing a Linear Accelerator

New linear accelerators can cost a medical facility between 1 and 5 million dollars.  The expense of owning a LINAC does not stop once it has ben purchased.  There are items outside of the actual equipment purchase such as a simulator, training computers, treatment rooms, salaries, ongoing training, operation expenses, maintenance, repairs, and more.  The total cost of large scaled medical equipment is never one that should be underestimated.  Whether you are installing a brand new or refurbished linear accelerator, installing a LINAC for the first time, or replacing an existing one there are three tips the professionals at Acceletronics want to give you.

Step One – Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

The installation planning process for a linear accelerator takes between six months to eight years.  The length of time for planning your project can span almost any length of time.

  • When planning new technology, you will first want to establish the technology that you need in order to treat patients.  What types of cases will you be treating?  Consider the options IMRT, IGRT, and so on.
  • If you are installing a linear accelerator in new construction, you will want to consider the constraints that come along with that.  What local permits do you need, do you have the proper power supply needed for this large scaled equipment, are there constraints that will limit your installation?  If you are renovating a space consider the rooms constraints, size, location of isocenter and so forth.
  • Create a timeline for major milestones.  When will the vault be completed, when are vendors scheduled to install computers?  When planning these things consider potential areas where conflict can occur and come up with a backup plan.
  • Once the goals are established, a budget is needed to acquire the new equipment.  Consider other aspects as well such as training, equipment needed to run the LINAC and treat patients, and the extra items that can be forgotten about when focusing on the large scaled purchase.

Step Two – Hire Based on Experience

When hiring a team of professionals, it is crucial that you hire experts.  Experts are needed for designing the vault, construction, providers of equipment and supplies, IT support, clinical implementation teams, and such.  Don’t trade cost for quality.  Sometimes a little bit more money now can save you a great deal of money later on down the road.  Ask for references when working with different vendors.  Hire only those vendors that understand the collaboration effort needed to install medical equipment such as CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators. 

Step Three – Commit to Quality

When buying a used or refurbished linear accelerator there is a three-step process that you should follow to ensure you get a machine that meets your needs and beyond.  These steps include: a review of the LINAC’s service history (look at major service events such as waveguide replacement), review the machine’s utilization and beam hours, and perform a physical inspection of the machine. 

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Advancements In Technology Bring Newer Less Invasive Treatment Options

Anytime a new medical treatment is developed there is cause for celebration.  Varian Edge radiosurgery system is being used at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in a trial that is providing a new take on the existing technique known as SRS, stereotactic radiosurgical thalamotomy.  In the new treatment, instead of having a frame attached to your skull to help aid in the positioning of the beams a virtual cone is used.  The newer treatment is done without the invasiveness of traditional SRS and greatly increases a patient’s experience.  Traditional linear accelerators are still used in treating a wide array of radiation needs however, new systems and upgrades in technology are helping to assist in bringing better, less imposing options to patient care.   To read more about this brilliant trial out of UAB check out this article from the UAB News, New radiation therapy shows promise for treating essential tremor.

New Treatment Combines Imaging and Treatment

The advancements in Radiation Therapy are off the chart.  Treating cancer has always been a two-stage process of imaging and then treatment with radiation.  In this article from ITV news, “New precision cancer treatment is ‘potential lifeline’ for patients with deadly disease” they highlight the use of new technology that combines the precision imaging of an MRI with the cancer killing radiation of a linear accelerator, MR-linac. 

At Acceletronics we are committed to providing the best quality care for your equipment.  Our pledge to customers is to provide complete satisfaction, nothing short.  We believe you deserve peace of mind when it comes to the equipment you use to provide treatment to patients who are facing the scariest experience of their lives.