Vertical CT Imaging

In October 2016, the Northwestern Medicine Proton Center became the first U.S. proton therapy center to incorporate vertical CT imaging technology, a new approach to using standard computed tomography (CT) imaging technology for treatment planning.

Previously, lung cancer patients undergoing CT scanning and proton therapy were typically treated in a supine, or laying, position. Research shows that when patients are imaged in an upright position, motion within the chest is reduced and absolute lung volumes increased.

Using a ceiling-mounted CT scanning system, along with an in-house designed treatment chair, this new technique allows proton therapy treatment planning images to be taken with patients in a seated position. Since absolute lung volumes are larger in the upright position, we expect to better target lung tumors and minimize radiation to healthy lung tissue and adjacent organs resulting in lower toxicity.

Potential Benefits of Seated Imaging and Treatment:

  • Greater degree of comfort for the patient during treatment
  • Decreased tumor motion making the proton treatments more precise

Initial Candidates for Vertical CT Scanning:

Northwestern Medicine Proton Center Vertical CT Scanner.
View Vertical CT Scanner Video

Pencil Beam Scanning on the Gantry

In 2014, the Proton Center became one of the first proton centers to use Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) proton therapy to treat cancer patients. In early 2016, the Proton Center added PBS technology to its 360° rotating gantry treatment room.

PBS proton therapy delivers prices, highly controlled doses of radiation, spot by spot, over a tumor, as opposed to uniform scanning proton therapy. The targeted control of radiation delivery decreases exposure to surrounding healthy tissues and critical structures.

Potential Benefits of PBS Delivery:

  • Higher radiation doses may provide better tumor control
  • Fewer side effects than uniform scanning proton therapy
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Increased treatment options for certain tumor types

Initial Candidates for PBS Proton Therapy:

The Proton Center is committed to providing clinically advanced cancer treatment and is proud to offer PBS proton therapy technology for our patients.

Northwestern Medicine Proton Center Pencil Beam Scanning.