Radiotherapy Equipment to Last a Lifetime

Medical equipment professionals often debate whether machines are useful past their “expiration” date. Newer radiation therapy equipment is touted to last seven or eight years, noting that it took roughly seven years to design and program before its release, doubling its age instantaneously. Therefore, the technology, software, and knowledge associated with a 14-year-old device is severely outdated. 

However, this thinking is not necessarily true, as there are machines over 20 years old that are operating safely and reliably. In Latin America, a Varian 6X linear accelerator has been treating patients for more than 40 years.

Since 1953, a GE MaximaR 100 X-Ray Device (also known as a Superficial Unit) has been working at a hospital in the United States. For almost 70 years, this unit has helped treat skin cancer patients by producing mild doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells while preserving the surrounding healthy tissue. This machine is still being manufactured for use in dermatology and radiation oncology clinics.

In the Caribbean, a physician at a radiation oncology center said, “Our 2003 Varian 21EX linear accelerator treats over 50 patients per day. It has all the features we want including RapidArc. The 21EX has successfully treated thousands of patients.”

These machines are well-built and are fully capable of lasting longer than seven or eight years. Certain companies purposefully underestimate the life of their linear accelerators to drive sales and increase new model usage. Also, many refurbished linear accelerators use the exact same technology as the current market models. 

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 to learn more.

Are you looking to purchase a refurbished linear accelerator or have yours repaired? Contact Acceletronics today.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

Particle Accelerators Create Potential Cancer Treatment in Lansing

A Lansing company called Niowave has begun producing actinium-225, a silvery metal isotope that barely exists on Earth, with a superconducting linear accelerator. The reason? This isotope is a promising cancer treatment; however, researchers don’t know its full potential due to the absence of clinical trials. 

Niowave has secured a $5 million deal with Fusion Pharmaceuticals to start production in 2024.  Between Russia, the United States, Germany, and Canada, there are only two curies (unit of measurement for radioactive materials) of actinium-225. Niowave plans on making one curie per week. 

In 2019, the federal government gave Niowave $15 million, and another $13 million last year, to produce molybdenum 99, which is used for medical imaging. Since other countries subsidize its production, making a profit from molybdenum 99 is tricky. 

After working with uranium for years, the federal government determined Niowave could function safely with another highly radioactive element, radium, to create actinium-225. 

Cancer therapy isotopes emit beta particles, which can destroy cancer cells but also kill healthy cells around them. Actinium-225 delivers more targeted alpha particles, which can emit more energy at a shorter distance.

Justin Wilson, an associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University said, “If you can get those alpha particles to the cancer cells, they have the capability of doing more damage but in a more confined region. Which, in theory, could prevent hitting healthy cells that maybe aren’t part of the small metastatic lesion.” 

Eric Burak, chief technical officer at Fusion Pharmaceuticals, states that they are working on formulating three separate drugs that use actinium-225. He said the isotope is “One of the rarest elements in the entire planet, and, with more companies interested in its therapeutic potential, everyone is scrambling for actinium supply.” 

Fusion Pharmaceuticals are investing $5 million to help Niowave create actinium-225 in exchange for a guaranteed share of the end result. 

Niowave’s superconducting linear accelerator has been moved to a concrete room as radium is extremely radioactive. 

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 to learn more.


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Video Radiology Helps Patients Better Understand Test Results

Video radiology reports are made for specific patients using simplified language and clearly annotated images to help them better understand test results, according to a novel study published by the American Journal of Roentgenology

Radiologists at NYU Grossman School of Medicine lead the study in collaboration with Visage Imaging GmbH and Siemens Healthineers. The study outlines how radiologists can create these patient-focused videos in under four minutes, delivering the results directly to patients and referring partners through an integrated patient portal. 

Lead author of the study, Michael P. Recht, MD, the Louis Marx Professor of Radiology and chair of the Department of Radiology at NYU Langone Health, said, “For decades radiologists have provided traditional radiology reports that are full of medical jargon and extremely difficult for patients to understand and decipher. Our findings demonstrate that when radiologists take a more active role in patient-centered care and provide helpful information about a particular diagnosis in an easy-to-comprehend manner, both the patient and clinician benefit.”

More than 100 radiologists at NYU Langone Health generated more than 3,500 video radiology reports during a four-month span between September 2021 and January 2022. All imaging modalities were used in the reports, such as MRIs, mammograms, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, etc. 

The average length of each video report was 55 seconds. In a survey, 91 percent of patients reported they preferred both a written and video radiology report, suggesting it was helpful at showcasing the most imperative aspects of the overall report.

Researchers created the video radiology reports with Visage Imaging GmbH to integrate and build a tool inside the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), which radiologists use to read imaging studies. 

After a series of images were identified, they were brought into the diagnostic viewer screen and recorded with audio while a mouse was used to identify notable anatomical anomalies. 

The NYU Langone Health MyChart housed the video radiology reports on the patient portal, with personalized clinical notes and a complete written report. 

Dr. Recht said, “Our study disrupts the old adage that radiologists ‘sit in a dark reading room all day’ and are invisible to patients. Through projects and research like this, our radiologists take a more active approach to patient-centered care that allows our department to provide exceptional, world-class care.”

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Deciphering the Difference Between Critical and Mundane Tasks in Radiology

Successful people who thrive in their careers are typically engaged in their workload and manage responsibilities well, with a keen focus uninterrupted by distractions. Generally, it isn’t too difficult to decipher actual “work” from mundane tasks that are counterproductive or irrelevant, yet many people are guilty of partaking in the latter more often than not.

Diagnostic radiologists are typically responsible for interpreting images and providing reports outlining the findings. Whether certain clinical questions, managerial roles, or imaging protocols are involved, the overall group functions more efficiently when everyone is equally engaged.

Once in a while, radiologists might feel like they are partaking in mundane activities; for example, if a reporting template doesn’t match their personal style or search pattern. Another scenario might include defending one’s reporting language against a hypercritical QA reviewer.

Based on what the radiologist believes their work should encompass, one radiologist’s critical tasks are another’s mundane tasks.

To bridge the gap between critical and mundane tasks, it’s imperative one notes the subtle perverse incentives that might be happening in the workplace. Government, regulatory, and academic fields all succumb to perverse incentives when someone is rewarded for bad behavior or punished for good.

Common perverse incentives in radiology include no reward for productivity or no survey of who is contributing to the overall team effort. Radiologists who produce more RVUs might be extra stressed, which increases malpractice liability, both of which are perverse disincentives. To regain equilibrium, the radiologist can reduce their efforts or take more breaks, for example.

When certain team members become more aware of their performance impediments, suddenly, better tools, more personnel, etc., are instated. Once leadership is alerted, staff surveys are performed, which could lead to new hardware, software, coworkers, and more.

Without any sign of stress in the system, those who rank higher on the totem pole are unable to specifically outline any issues or provide support. However, with help from other team members through surveys and the like, leadership can improve the situation based on feedback.

Constructive evaluation and prevention is key in reducing perverse incentives and increasing overall morale.

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Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

ASTRO’s Top Six Trends in Radiation Therapy

At this year’s American Society for Radiation Oncology’s annual meeting, the following radiation therapy technology trends were labeled as the most up-and-coming. 

Flash Therapy
Labeled a “revolutionary” way to treat cancer, flash therapy has been under the radar for the past few years. Rather than giving fractions of radiation to patients over days or weeks at a time, a full dose is delivered swiftly. Healthy tissues react differently to high doses of radiation as opposed to smaller doses over time; the tissues recover well, and cancer cells are rapidly destroyed. This therapy can potentially revolutionize radiation therapy, making patient treatment slots more available. 

Image-Guided Radiotherapy Systems
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) guided linear accelerators (linac) systems gained popularity through the past few years thanks to their ability to allow real-time imaging during radiation therapy. With this process, patients are more aligned with the therapy through changes in tissue movement, breathing, food intake, bowel gas, etc. Though the results are more accurate and safer, they take longer to perform, and are being reserved for certain types of cancers. 

Proton: A Mainstream Treatment
Becoming more widely available, this therapy is highly accurate and performs better than the best photon therapy systems. Randomized trials will soon compare proton therapy versus photon therapy in prostate, lung, and breast cancer. Proton therapy interacts with cell biology differently than photon beam therapy. Proton flash therapy also makes proton systems more economically viable, since many more patients can be treated at once. 

PSMA PET For Prostate Cancer
Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging for prostate cancer can monumentally improve the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. In male patients with prostate cancer, the drug for PET nuclear imaging of PSMA-positive lesions was approved by the FDA. 

Synthetic CT from MRI Is Cost-Effective for Radiotherapy
New software can convert MRI databases into synthetic CT image datasets to assist in treatment plans. Since separate CT scans are not needed, costs can be reduced and care can be sped up. MRI is preferred for diagnosis compared to CT, as it can help provide a better understanding of the disease extent. 

AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Radiotherapy
AI is being used mainly as a time saver, as it speeds up routine tasks, automates treatment plans, offers alternative options, and more. AI can target tumors, identify tissues to avoid using radiation on, and provide information to suggest better treatment decisions. 

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

Using Medical Radiation Detectors

By 2030, the global medical radiation detection market is projected to reach $2,558.1 million; in 2020, the market was valued at $1,173 million, according to a new report from Researchandmarkets.com.

A variety of fatal illnesses can result when people are exposed to radiation for an extended period. Radiation detectors are medical equipment solutions that can detect the presence of radiation. Handheld Survey Meter (HSM), Personal Radiation Detector (PRD), Radiation Portal Monitor (RPM), and Radiation Isotope Identification Device are some of the options available to detect radioactive materials and ionizing radiation.

Dosimeters, radiation-detecting equipment, can detect Gamma rays, which are the most dangerous. Cancer rates have been rising, accelerating the need for medical radiation detecting equipment. An increase in diagnostic imaging facilities requiring medical radiation detectors has helped avoid unnecessary exposure.

Encouraging awareness in radiation-prone settings has been crucial when it comes to safety. In the upcoming years, the increased potential for medical radiation detection is expected to expand in emerging markets.

There are different branches of the global medical radiation detection market, including detection type, product, end-user, and region. Each category contains its sub-categories as well. All of these segments are what drive market growth.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

GE Plans to Form Three Public Companies

GE will form three industry-leading public companies concentrated on three sectors: aviation, energy, and healthcare. GE will retain 19.9 percent of shares in the new healthcare company, a spin-off of GE Healthcare, which will be fully functional by early 2023. As for renewable energy, GE plans to merge GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital by early 2024. Later on down the line, GE will be a company focused on aviation and the future of flight.

The goals are to create long-term growth and better value for customers, investors, and employees. GE plans to deepen operational focus and accountability to rise to customer needs. Distinct strategies and industry-tailored features will be fulfilled through capital allocations. Growth opportunities will be achieved through tactical strategies and financial flexibility. Incentives and career opportunities will be available to employees. Investment profiles will be presented in a compelling and more distinct manner to broaden investment areas. Finally, the boards of directors will have a thorough understanding of each domain.

H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., GE Chairman and CEO, said, “At GE we have always taken immense pride in our purpose of building a world that works. The world demands—and deserves—we bring our best to solve the biggest challenges in flight, healthcare, and energy. By creating three industry-leading, global public companies, each can benefit from greater focus, tailored capital allocation, and strategic flexibility to drive long-term growth and value for customers, investors, and employees. We are putting our technology expertise, leadership, and global reach to work to better serve our customers. Today is a defining moment for GE, and we are ready. Our teams have done exceptional work strengthening our financial position and operating performance, all while deepening our culture of continuous improvement and lean. And we’re not finished—we remain focused on continuing to reduce debt, improve our operational performance, and strategically deploy capital to drive sustainable, profitable growth. We have a responsibility to move with speed to shape the future of flight, deliver precision health, and lead the energy transition. The momentum we have built puts us in a position of strength to take this exciting next step in GE’s transformation and realize the full potential of each of our businesses.”

GE plans on reducing debt by over $75 billion at the end of 2021. By 2023, the company will be a well-capitalized, three-part company.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

False Positive Cancer Diagnosis Can Result from COVID-19 Vaccine

Several peer-reviewed literature and radiology societies have been sounding alarms that COVID-19 vaccines can cause temporary inflammation and swelling of lymph nodes in some patients. While this is normal, according to experts, it can be a massive cause of concern for radiologists who assume it’s a sign of infection or cancer.

When lymph nodes are abnormal in size or consistency, lymphadenopathy (also called adenopathy) occurs. It commonly produces swollen or enlarged lymph nodes and is causing alarm on mammograms of recently vaccinated women. Patients who undergo CT scans can also exhibit these swollen lymph nodes.

The swollen lymph nodes that result from being vaccinated for COVID-19 are signs that the body’s immune system is gearing up in response to the vaccine. Experts say the inflammatory response will eventually go away. The same reactions have been seen in other vaccines such as human papillomavirus and influenza.

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) journal Radiology: Imaging Cancer published an editorial on April 9 that addresses the concerns and diagnostic dilemma. The authors point out that widespread patient education is necessary. Side-effects such as swelling should be emphasized and normalized as an immune response initiated by the vaccine.

“We write this editorial as a public service message at a time where other countries are starting mass vaccinations programs with the goal of preventing unnecessary nodal biopsies and alleviating patient concern. Imaging studies, clinicians, and news media outlets should spread awareness to educate the public regarding this side-effect to minimize patient anxiety,” the report states.

Recommendations are in place which suggest women should be asked if they have received a COVID-19 vaccine prior to imaging exams. The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) swiftly issued recommendations for how long to wait before imaging women who receive the vaccine.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Four Ways Radiology Can Reduce Its Climate Change Impact

Typically, climate change (a.k.a. global warming) is associated with planes, trains, and automobiles using fossil fuels, hazy skies, and radioactive plants pushing clouds into the atmosphere. However, the radiologic industry plays a more significant role than you might imagine, and industry leaders say the time to reduce that impact is now.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, a team of industry experts, including Geraldine McGinty, M.D., MBA, president of the American College of Radiology (ACR), issued a call-to-action statement.

“Radiology is well-positioned to spearhead climate change action in our practices and the healthcare system at large. Addressing climate change provides an opportunity to improve healthcare delivery and increase value of care using a different problem-solving approach,” said the team.

The Yale University School of Medicine released data that shows 10 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions (and nine percent of harmful non-greenhouse air pollutants) originate from the United States healthcare system.

Radiology is a significant contributor to each hospital’s energy use. In Switzerland, as the team pointed out, their three CT and four MRI scanners accounted for four percent of the hospital’s overall energy use. Being more environmentally conscious isn’t specific to the industry; it’s a patent priority as well. In the United Kingdom, a survey conducted showed that 92 percent of patients also consider sustainable healthcare operations vital.

Substantial energy use: Radiology utilizes an enormous amount of energy. In the span of a year, cumulative consumption from one CT scanner can equate to five four-person households. A single MRI uses nearly as much as 26 four-person residences. If at all possible, opt for ultrasound instead. Not only is it cheaper, but it also uses less radiation and has a lower environmental impact. Moreover, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to shorten MRI protocols can lower energy use. To further reduce the carbon footprint, implementing life cycle analyses can quantify the environmental impact of various modalities.

Standby mode: To reduce the amount of energy used by the imaging machines, use standby mode. Even when idle, they are consuming significant amounts of energy, according to the team. Cooling machines take an equal amount of energy to operate. The team recommends a 24-hour operating cycle, as well as exploring energy-efficient HVAC systems and imaging technique improvements.

Power down: Though leaving the PACS on overnight might be more convenient and efficient for workload management, the team suggests turning the machine off overnight. A hospital in Iceland left its systems on overnight and accumulated 25,040 kilowatts of energy, producing 17.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These levels are equivalent to the emissions produced by four passenger cars annually. To decrease costs and improve energy efficiency, powering down can be an easy way to accomplish these goals. Additionally, the team suggested reducing excess packaging in your procedures to drive down the environmental costs in production and disposal.

Opt for clean energy: The team said now is the time to shift from fossil fuels and lean toward renewable energy. As prices are dropping, several facilities are already making progress. For example, Kaiser Permanente has achieved carbon-neutrality, and Gundersen Health System is already net carbon positive.

To make these changes a reality, radiologists need to become activists, according to the team. Lobby local ACR chapters to join national efforts or reach out to specialty societies to further push environmentally sustainable radiology. Publishing carbon footprints can help other medical departments understand the environmental dangers associated with over-utilization.

Radiologists are urged to join the Medical Society Consortium on Climate Health, which includes 29 national medical societies, as suggested by the team.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Purchasing a Preowned Linear Accelerator – Great Quality at a Lower Cost

When choosing the medical equipment for your facility, it can be a difficult decision to find the best system that can provide treatments for patients while trying to stay inside a budget. Many radiation oncology centers struggle with the decision to purchase a new system vs. preowned refurbished medical equipment. If given a choice, a new linear accelerator will seem most appealing because of the updated technology and advanced features it offers. However, due to economic and other factors, it may not always be a reasonable option. Purchasing used and or refurbished medical equipment does not mean that your facility is stuck using out of date technology. There is still a lot of equipment available, allowing buyers the opportunity to receive the most up-to-date technology at a much lower price tag.

Starting a New Practice/ Facility

Purchasing used or refurbished medical equipment may be an excellent option for new clinics since they may not have the start-up capital for new products. If treatments are given to fewer patients (less than 8-10 times a day), and machine use is low, this will allow a business to start building up a revenue base for the practice. In the beginning, a facility may decide to buy newer equipment within 4-7 years while operating older equipment.

Having a Backup/ Relocation Plan

Many medical centers may be currently performing treatment with one system, so having a backup machine is a good plan to ensure patient schedules run without delay due to limited operating capacity. The process of replacing or supplementing a linear accelerator can extremely cumbersome, lasting 3 to 4 weeks in some cases. Having this long of a delay in treatment can be detrimental to patients that need treatment daily. One option to consider is to purchase a nearly identical, used linear accelerator and install it within a new location. Once the new center is operational, the company can remove and resell the original machine; This will ensure no disruption with patient care occurs and offer a smooth transition for relocation.

Room for Improvements

Purchasing a used linear accelerator will give your facility more room to grow and allow for cost-savings benefits. Many machines can receive upgrades later during their life since most original manufacturers or third-party companies offer upgradeable options for used equipment models. If the software is more important to your clinic than hardware, this option can be cost-effective since the software is typically more expensive than the hardware.  However, this option is not a perfect solution for all medical centers as each center will have specific requirements that may find new medical equipment to be a better choice.

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/.