Radiation Oncology is one of the most technologically integrated specialties in the medical field. Your multidisciplinary team of dosimetrists, medical physicists, radiation oncologists, and radiation therapists use a complex weave of software and equipment to plan the best treatment for each patient.
High Dose Rate and Low Dose Rate
UCLA is known to be one of the best and highest volume brachytherapy programs in the nation. Our program is one of very few centers to provide High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy for a wide array of complex cancers (Prostate, Breast, Head & Neck, GYN, and many more).
Two dedicated procedure rooms comprise our special procedure and surgical area where surgery and radiation therapy can be performed in a single procedure. A special treatment room connected to the procedure rooms contains a Nucletron high dose rate machine capable of delivering radiation all within the same outpatient setting. UCLA is one of 3 centers in the world to offer the cutting edge Flexitron machine for high dose rate brachytherapy.
UCLA has a CT Simulator dedicated to simulating radiation treatments for each individual patient. These simulations are used to test various treatment fields and devices used to immobilize the patient during therapy. Data from the CT simulator ensures that patients get the appropriate setup, planning, and dose of radiation before their treatment starts.
A Linear Accelerator (often shortened to linac) is a sophisticated machine specifically designed to generate high energy X-rays and electrons for the treatment of patients. Your radiation oncologist plans and calculates the best treatment method and delivery for each individual.
At UCLA, you will be treated with state-of-the-art Linear Accelerators capable of delivering sophisticated therapies including Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), Stereotactic Radiotherapy, Stereotactic Spine Radiotherapy, and Stereotactic Body Radio Therapy (SBRT). A few of our machines are highlighted below:
Stereotactic radiosurgery involves a single, high-dose application of radiation to the tumor, instead of the many smaller doses given in standard treatment. Several radiation beams are precisely aimed to converge upon a small tumor. The patient lies on a couch that rotates 180 degrees for maximum targeting, without harming surrounding tissues. This technique is used to treat brain tumors and other intracranial cancers.
This is a fairly new term often not recognized; however represents the Stereotactic methodology with IMRT delivery. Patients receiving such treatments include those with tumors in the central nervous system and head and neck regions.
Stereotactic guided radiation is combined with CT guidance for the highest possible dose to spinal tumors while minimizing harmful side effects.
SBRT combines elements of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT)/intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which links CT scans of the tumor site with treatment-planning software to determine optimum photon radiation beam direction and intensity, and image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) techniques that cope with tumor motion and anatomy changes during the course of radiotherapy.
SBRT allows the delivery of ablative dose of radiation to the target in significantly shortened treatment time, individual treatments, called "fractions" have been reduced from 35 to fewer than 5 in this approach, while minimizing damage to normal tissues in the tumor region. This approach has been used in patients with early stage or isolated recurrent/metastatic cancer in the lung, liver and other sites.
At UCLA, we have designed the first cutting edge clinical trial using the SBRT approach in prostate cancer for higher dose delivery and shorter fractionation.