Healthcare Software: Treatment Planning

Improving Patient Care

The development of treatment and procedural plans are crucial in the provision of efficient, accurate and quality healthcare. Researchers at Emory University have worked to develop several planning models, software, and algorithms to personalize and improve the efficiency and accuracy of multiple popular medical procedures. These new tools can serve to improve a patient’s experience and treatment success.

Imaging Software for Individualized Treatment with Radiotherapy: Prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer seen in American men. A new predictive mathematical model has been developed at Emory to improve the accuracy and specificity of radiation margins for each individual patient undergoing image-guided radiation therapy. Current methods of radiotherapy run the risk of missing treatment margins and exposing the patient to more radiation than is strictly necessary. This occurs because during and between radiotherapy treatments a patient’s prostate can shift positions. In a study, the current, non-patient specific 2 mm margin approach predicted future prostate motion for only 50% (12) of the patients. This new treatment model predicted prostate motion for 91.7% (22) patients.  This software can improve radiotherapy accuracy and safety for future prostate cancer patients. (Techid: 13004; view our technology brief)

Model to Quantify and Predict Prostate Motion Due to Respiration: In response to respiratory-induced motion of the prostate during radiotherapy, Emory researchers have worked to develop a method to increase the accuracy of image-guided radiation therapy that accounts for respiratory motion. To decrease the treatment margin of error, researchers created a method to specifically measure a patient’s respiratory-induced prostate motion, separate from total prostate motion that may occur during radiotherapy treatments. This tool allows doctors to isolate and gauge a patient’s individual pattern of respiratory-induced prostate motion. Preliminary results of this new respiratory gauge suggest that it could use predications of patient specific prostate motion to individualize treatment margins and therefore, treatment accuracy. (Techid: 14049; view our technology brief)

Clear View: Radiation Therapy Optimization Software: During radiation therapy treatments, a patient lays of a couch while a linear accelerator (LINAC) mounted on a rotating gantry circles them, releasing an external beam that traces a pre-planned treatment program. However, both the gantry that the LINAC is mounted on and the couch that the patient is on are not completely stationary creating a possible threat that the LINAC gantry may collide with stationary objects in the treatment environment. This dilemma encouraged Emory inventors to develop software that visualizes patient specific points of potential collisions between the gantry and other environmental objects. This software creates a 3-D model to simulate patient, gantry, and couch positions, which can indicate to doctors the optimal gantry and couch positions to reduce the threat of environmental collisions, thereby increasing treatment accuracy.(Techid: 14007; view our technology brief)

Imaging-Based Software to Determine Lead Placement of Cardiac Pacemakers: Cardiac resynchronization therapy is a risky treatment that uses an implanted bi-ventricular pacing device to resynchronize the heart ventricle’s contractions using electrical pulses. Unfortunately, about one third of patients do not respond positively to this treatment method. Dr. John Oshinski and his colleagues hypothesized that these poor treatment responses may be induced by poor patient selection criteria or poor device implementation. Oshinski is currently developing novel software in hopes of improving the accuracy of device placement, thereby improving patient outcomes. This software will use imaging to analyze a patient’s left ventricle contraction timing, myocardial scar distribution, and coronary vein anatomy. This analysis will help create a more precise plan for placement of the pacing device. (Techid: 11149; view our feature; view our technology brief)

Accurate Prostate Cancer Imaging for High-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy Planning: High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy, which delivers radiotherapeutics to the prostate through small inserted catheters, is a common treatment for patients suffering from prostate cancer. To optimize treatment placement of said catheters is extremely important. Unfortunately, current methods to identify potential treatment targets of effective catheter sites are not wholly accurate. Emory researchers were consequently inspired to develop a treatment planning model that uses 3-D intra-operative ultrasound (TRUS) images of the prostate after catheter insertions and post-operative CT scans to better understand the 3D volume of a patient’s prostate. This new planning method allows doctors to use the more accurate 3D volume of a prostate to increase treatment accuracy and decrease the risk of affecting neighboring healthy tissue. (Techid: 13115; view our technology brief)

RTAnalytics: Radiation Treatment Planning Software Using Image Databases: Approximately one half of all cancer patients require radiation therapy at some point in their treatment process. However, current radiation therapy planning is neither automated nor is based based on prior knowledge or existing databases. Consequently, current methods of radiation therapy planning are inefficient and untimely. To alleviate this issue, Emory researchers developed software that finds and compares similar Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) cases with that of an individual patient. This software analyzes previous patient cases that are similar to the current case and uses data from those cases to suggest irradiation settings and attainable constraints. The development of this software and the use of VMAT increases both radiation therapy efficiency and treatment accuracy. (Techid: 13058; view our technology brief)

Smart Start Treatment Planning: One of the most common treatment methods for men suffering from early stage prostate cancer is low dose (LDR) brachytherapy. This treatment is a form of radiotherapy that uses a sealed radiation source inside or in close proximity to the treatment area. Existing brachytherapy planning software does not use a knowledge-based treatment planning platform. Researchers at Emory have developed treatment planning software tailored to physician preferences for prostate brachytherapy. This software uses a starting point of previous physician specific therapy plans. The algorithm then compares data from past cases to the current case in order to form a LDR plan that is optimal for both the patient and the physician. This software can help standardize plan quality of LDR treatment delivery, while simultaneously decreasing planning time. (Techid: 15114; view our technology brief)