Using High Energy Electrons To Fight Cancer

Researchers as CERN are always working to find new options for radiation therapy to be more effective and more affordable. Radiation therapy is a procedure that utilizes special equipment called a linear accelerator that emits a beam of electrons into a targeted area of a cancerous tumor on a patient. At high concentration, these x-ray beams can produce a larger enough dose of radiation to kill the cancer cells. Unfortunately, even with very precise placement, the x-ray can cause damage surrounding healthy tissue and organs, so doctors have many obstacles to overcome with effective cancer options still. New developments at CERN are showing great possibilities for the future by creating a electron accelerator called CLIC which uses high energy electrons in a smaller setting and more affordable. In this following article, it describes more in detail the process of this new found technology and how its can further change and evolve radiation treatment from where it is today.

LINAC Removal and Disposal Service

Out with the old and in with the new as people always say. Replacing your radiation equipment is a must in the cancer treatment world to better provide quality and efficient services to cancer patients worldwide. If repairs to linear accelerators exceeds the value of the machines, it is best to begin looking at buying a new or refurbished linear accelerator to replace it. The removal of your equipment is no easy task and should consult the professionals that are experienced in this process to comply with state regulations, liability and safety concerns, and to ensure it is done properly so that you do not spend additional money to get services done multiple times.

Preventing Prolonged Downtime

With every linear accelerator replacement or removal, a clinic will expect to have treatment for their clinics to be suspended. This delay can be very difficult and dangerous for many cancer patients due to the nature of the sickness. Radiation therapy destroys the DNA of cancerous cells much faster than healthy cells which is a large advantage in cancer treatment. Healthy cells recover from radiation quicker sometimes even by the next days treatment while the cancer cells continue to become weaker. Interruptions to this treatment schedule will allow cancer cells to grow back and gain strength so down time is not really an option for many of people. Having to travel to a new hospital for treatment is not ideal so many clinics may try to have a second machine that can be of use, but this too can be an expensive alternative for the companies.

Moving the Linear Accelerator Equipment

The process of moving a linear accelerator to a new location or for disposal can be quite a large task and by large they estimate roughly 25,000 pounds that stand over 8 feet high. Despite their massive size, they are very fragile and must be moved properly and with most care which can take extensive amount of time anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks even. Depending on the type of linac being removed, concrete floors or walls may have to be broken around the base frame so that future construction for renovations can be completed.

Purchasing Refurbished Equipment Vs New

When ready to purchase a replacement linear accelerator there are a few options to consider since this is a big financial decision. A new linear accelerator on average can cost $2,928,771. Purchasing a refurbished linear accelerator is considerably less in comparison. A refurbished or used linear accelerator does not mean that it is old or outdated technology. Many newer style oncology equipment can be found on used product market. Buyers can purchase the latest technology at a more affordable price with refurbished. Another advantage, many of the machines are upgraded frequently with platforms designed for the used systems.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



Pre-planning Linac Maintenance

Medical linear accelerators have continued to make progress through history since the late 1950’s and pave new ways for curing a variety of different cancers that once were not an option to treat. The design of the equipment combines the use of hardware and software that together gives the advantage of precision and overall success of today’s cancer treatment worldwide. Manufacturing and design continue to evolve and become a better tool for future use in reliability and efficiency but as with all mechanical systems, dysfunction and failures still exist. Having unplanned accelerator downtime and failures can impact a company and its patients very negatively. The scheduled treatments need to be performed at precise times given by the cancer specialists for an effective procedure while fighting against cancer. To avoid these situations from occurring, proper testing and maintenance of the radiology equipment must be done.

Steps During Maintenance

  1. Deliver a daily quality assurance (QA) treatment
  2. Automatically move and examine the log files that are created
  3. Create baselines, then perform daily operating and performance values to statistical process control (SPC) for examination
  4. Investigate if any alarms have been activated
  5. Inform the facility and system service engineers

Trained Professionals

Medical physicists will typically receive basic training of the principals of linear accelerators functionality, but much hands-on experience will be lacking since there is a limited access to linacs that’s are in clinical use but more importantly because these devices can only be adjusted with small set of parameters to maintain. For actual technicians, training for service personnel is generally one of the largest components to a person early on in employment. The process can be lengthy and costly and require unique training from the manufacturer of linear accelerator company.

Scheduled Maintenance and Repairs

Typically, Linac machines will be under an annual service contract that will provide scheduled, preventative maintenance throughout the year to keep the radiotherapy machines running optimally. Keep in mind, older equipment may reach their “end of life” period and may no longer be supported or even worse parts can become sparse or unavailable which may be a reason to start to look for replacement linear accelerators. Extending the life of your current systems with upgrades will be the most cost-effective option for your business. By repairing or upgrading the system this will also not only save money but save precious down time that will need to be taken if having to remove and install new equipment is needed. Not having a machine functioning will mean no treatments being performed which could cost you losing valuable patients.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.

Techniques Used in Radiation Therapy

The leading cause of death globally remains to be cancer. The word cancer is often used when a person describes how a loved family or friend dies. The first cancer treatments appreciated were introduced in 1895 after the discovery of Xrays. Cancer treatment has continued to progress at an increasing rate each year with new technology and growth in knowledge on the subject. There are many treatment options to be considered such as radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormonal therapy.

Radiation therapy continues to be one of the most important components of treatments available since it’s estimated 50% of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy during their sickness. The reason for such a high amount of uses for this type of treatment is the efficiency to target the cancer cells with beams of radiation produced by radiation equipment called a linear accelerator or LINAC. The high energy x ray beams destroy the cancer cells while preventing radiation damage from the healthy cells. Radiation therapy can be delivered in two different ways, the first is through External beam radiation. This type is the most common and is used from the outside of a patient’s body by aiming the radiation beams at the location of tumor. The second type of delivery is Internal radiation or also called brachytherapy. Internal radiation is done through the inside of the body by radioactive sources such as catheters or seeds directly into the tumor.

Fractionation

Radiation dose fractionation is radiotherapy delivered in a fractionated form. This type of therapy generally increases the survival of normal tissues and cells over the cancer cells. Normal cells multiply more slowly compared to the rapid increasing cancer cells which allows the healthy cells more time to heal before they replicate.

3D Conformal Radiotherapy

New technology has allowed older 2D radiation therapy that previously used rectangular fields based on plain X-ray imaging to be replaced with 3D radiation therapy based on CT imaging. This replacement allows for a more accurate target of the tumor as well as precise location of other normal organ structures for the most efficient beam placement and shielding to occur.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Oncologists can create irregular-shaped radiation doses that take shape of the tumor while also having the ability to avoid other organs with IMRT technology. This process is all possible due to two factors which are inverse planning software and also computer controlled intensity modulation of multiple radiation beams during the process.

Image-guided Radiotherapy

The possibility to miss a tumor due to organ movement or the variations needed for each patient’s setup it becomes even more important for treatment options to be more precise than ever before. When critical tissue and organs are close to the tumor, a slight positional error could lead to radiation damage to the healthy cells. IRGT is created and utilized to allow detection of these such errors by the information taken through pre-radiotherapy imaging which can be used for corrections.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)

Another type of treatment that is possible today due to advances in newer technology is SBRT. This treatment delivers very high separate doses of radiation over only a few treatment fractions to destroy small tumors anywhere in the body of patient. The side effects of this however, tissues that are close in proximity to the tumor is likely to get damaged due to the high radiation dose. Since the amount of normal tissue effected is small in the high does region, toxicity is less.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



New PHASER Linac Continues to Make Improvements To Radiotherapy Treatments

The advancements in LINAC technology are significant.  In just the last few decades, the ability to treat cancers effectively without harming additional healthy tissues have grown considerably.  Linear accelerators have been transformed into systems that offer different techniques to target cancerous tumors.  Intensity-modulated irradiation as well as particle therapies have helped to ensure the maximum dose of radiation can be given to the tumor without over exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues. Image guided radiation LINAC systems allow images to be taken while delivering radiation thus decreasing the amount of uncertainty in the location of the tumors.  One of the last hurdles modern technology is working to address is patient movement, however slight, during treatment. In this installment from Physics World, “PHASER linac will translate FLASH radiotherapy to the clinic” we are introduced to technology that looks to address this issue.

Choosing Radparts For Your Linac Needs

Radparts is a unique supplier of OEM replacement parts for linear accelerators and CT scanners.  We partner with Acceletronics who offers a number of services surrounding LINACS including sales of new and refurbished radiation equipment, the servicing of radiation equipment, and a variety of services including relocation and removal of linear accelerators.  This arrangement allows us to provide services that other companies cannot.

Selling new and refurbished medical equipment can be quiet a challenge.  This is true of CT scanners, linear accelerators, MRI systems, and other higher valued medical equipment.  Medical facilities face a great deal of challenges of their own with making large scaled equipment such as financing, regulations, time issues, delays, and a million other obstacles that can cause delays.  When working with the team at Acceletronics and Radparts we help to create a process that is practically seamless for our clients.  This allows you to focus on growing their business and creating an environment to offer the most complete and comprehensive patient care program for patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Why We Are Better Than the Rest

  • Short-Terms Solutions – Sometimes facilities need a little more time to prepare for the installation and delivery of their new or refurbished linear accelerator.  When our clients find themselves in need of a temporary solution to ensure their patients needs are met, we have them covered.  Our sister company, Acceletronics, has pre-owned equipment that can be purchased to buy some time. These systems can then be utilized as a back up at a later date or resold.  This is often a more affordable solution than renting a mobile unit.
  • Financing – New facilities and healthcare centers do not often have a lot of capital to buy and operate new medical equipment.  We offer financing options as well as less expensive refurbished equipment that can be used to provide quality care to patients until facilities are more established.
  • Contracts for Service – We offer a number of contracts for servicing equipment. The major benefit is the team effort between Acceletronics and Radparts which ensures the parts that are needed to service your equipment are available and ready when needed.  Here at Radparts we specialize in parts for repairing all linear accelerators and radiation equipment.  We are the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for LINAC. With over 65,000 parts in stock and 3,200 individual line items – we are almost guaranteed to have what is needed to service or repair your equipment in a timely fashion.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



Dynamic Couch Rotation Advancing In Radiation Technology

A new advancement in radiotherapy technology has provided patients with A new advancement in radiotherapytechnology has provided patients with brain cancer a new alternative for treatment that could increase the accuracy and the speed of treatment. This style of treatment will rotate the patient in sync with the radiation beam with a technique called Dynamic Couch Rotation. Current treatment has been done using Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT).  This new technique has proven to be just as accurate but can also improve delivery times which in turn will reduce exposure to healthy/sensitive brain tissues nearby and decrease side effects overall. You can read the article “New radiotherapy system that moves patients in syncwith x-ray beam can deliver accurate treatment for brain cancer” to grasp a better understanding of this new treatment.

Advancements in Systems That Offer Treatment of Radiation Therapy

There are constant advancements in the treatment of diseases.  With these advancements the equipment used in treatment must also continue to evolve.  Radiation therapy is a great example of this process, as the cancers treated change and more effective treatments are found the equipment used must also adapt.  You can see this with IGRT, Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, that not only delivers the radiation therapy but does so while incorporating imaging as the treatment is being done.  So instead of separate imaging and then radiation this process allows everything to happen at once. 

It is important for companies like ours, Radparts, and our sister company, Acceletronics, to stay up to date on advancements within our industry such as the ones found in Imaging Technology NewsAs an industry leader in sales, service, and support of new & refurbished linear accelerators and CT scanners, and OEM replacement parts for linear accelerators and radiation equipment we are a one stop shop for medical facilities and health care centers.

Is It A Good Idea to Purchase A Pre-Owned Linear Accelerator?


Not every facility needs to purchase a new linear accelerator.  There are many times where a slightly used LINAC will serve the purpose of the facility at a fraction of the cost of a new one.  Some facilities however, benefit from the purchase of new equipment.  It really just depends on a number of variables to determine if a used, new, or refurbished linear accelerator is the solution for your facility.

When a facility needs the newest technology on the market, it is obvious a used or refurbished LINAC will not benefit them.  This is also the case if you are not looking to replace the machine anytime soon.  A brand new or almost new linear accelerator is a better option for facilities that don’t want to replace their machine in the next ten to fifteen years and are looking for the latest and greatest technology. 

The struggle between buying new, refurbished, and used radiation oncology equipment is a struggle many facilities face.  It is probably important to note however, that the minute you use a new linear accelerator it becomes used.  So not every used machine is “used” to the same extent.  Used and refurbished linear accelerators can be suitable for facilities under certain circumstances including:

  • When your facility is treating less than 8 to 10 patients a day, the revenue you are producing will not sustain the expense of a new machine.
  • Areas where reimbursement is low, and your clinic needs to be profitable to continue providing treatment may be better suited to purchase a used or refurbished unit.
  • The machine will be used in a limited capacity and doesn’t necessarily benefit from the latest technologies.  These circumstances may include using the machine for research, treating animals, or non-medical, industrial purposes.
  • Your facility will be able to afford the latest and greatest in the next couple of years but just can’t without first building a profitable practice.
  • You are opening a new medical center and don’t have the resources to secure financing on a new machine. 
  • You are moving to a new location, can’t afford downtime, and need to be able to treat patients during the process and currently only have one machine.
  • If your facility needs a back up to prevent downtime in patient care during maintenance and repairs on your main LINAC.
  • A new facility is being built but you need a temporary way to treat patients.
  • When the hardware aspect of treatment is not as important as the software.  Used and refurbished equipment can have updated software installed when your budget doesn’t allow for both upgraded software and hardware.

Obviously, brand new, state of the art equipment when purchasing linear accelerators and CT scanners is something all facilities desire, it is not always the most practical situation.  Purchasing used equipment doesn’t mean that your facility is operating with technology that is necessarily out of date.  Often newer style equipment can be acquired with little use.  It is important to remember just because it is used it doesn’t mean it is used up.  Used simply means that at one time or another it has been in use for patient care.  It could be the latest Varian model used for treatment in a facility briefly.  Used equipment can often save facilities a great deal of money in machine costs and financing.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way In Maintaining Linear Accelerators

Linear accelerators, LINAC, are large scaled medical devices that deliver external radiation in the form of a beam to cancerous tumors in order to shrink them.  As with most medical equipment, LINAC systems are expensive which is a barrier that many facilities face when purchasing a new or refurbished unit. 

With the expense of these large scaled systems it is important to make sure they are properly maintained and that you have access to linear accelerator parts for repair as needed.  Medical facilities can contract with companies that specialize in maintenance and repair services of LINAC systems such as Acceletronics or have on staff a team of professionals whose job it is to provide these services for their equipment.  There are advantages and disadvantage to both options, facilities choose based on their budget and facility needs.

Linear accelerators have evolved over the years. LINAC machines no longer only provide external radiation beams for treatment.  Major advancement in this technology include onboard imaging systems and portal dosimetry. Such complex systems require biomedical and clinical engineers to not only understand what these machines do but also how they are operated.  Even with advanced training, until the engineer has hands on experience it is difficult to truly understand how the machine functions. 

Not only is the linear accelerator expensive but the expertise to use and understand the machine is costly as well.  This again is an issue that faces many medical facilities.  These two factors alone make up the most significant aspect of expense faced by facilities when deciding on the purchase of equipment. 

All linear accelerators are not created equally and therefore when replacing an existing system there will be a significant cost to not only bring new equipment in but also the training on the individual piece of equipment.  One way to combat this is to replace existing LINAC with identical refurbished linear accelerators

We have discussed a lot about the expense of these units however there is also significant revenue to be gained by having external radiation treatment available to patients seeking treatment for cancerous tumors.  It is important for facilities to make sure these machines are functioning at peak capabilities at all times.  Downtime not only impacts revenue but also patient care.  In order for patients to have effective treatment for their tumors it is important they are able to strictly follow the treatment schedule laid out by their radiation team.  If equipment is down this is not possible.

To ensure that patient care and revenue is not affected by machine downtime it is crucial to maintain equipment.  Machine maintenance includes repairs in anticipation of failure.  If a parts failure is eminent based on previous experience it behooves the facility to purchase the LINAC replacement part ahead of time so that service can be provided around patient’s treatment schedules.  This allows facilities to schedule downtime to prevent unplanned downtime. 

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.