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Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center Treats First Patient Using Helium Ion Therapy with RayStation

Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center Treats First Patient Using Helium Ion Therapy with RayStation | Pharmtech Focus

Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center (HIT) has treated its first patient using helium ion therapy with RayStation®* treatment planning system. The treatment is a world first for helium ion treatments with the spot scanning technique, also known as pencil-beam scanning.

The use of helium ions for therapy was pioneered at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the United Stated 1975-1993 by use of broad beams. The treatment at HIT, carried out in July 2021, is the first clinical application of helium beams since then and applied the state of art pencil-beam scanning technique performed in their treatment room with a horizontal beamline.

The procedure went smoothly, and the center will shortly start using their gantry beamline, as well as initiate a larger-scale clinical trial. The treatment planning was performed with RayStation, version 9B, that supports use of helium ions side by side with carbon ions and protons. This achievement marks the end of a busy two-year period for the physics and support teams at RaySearch, which have assisted in getting four carbon ion centers go clinical since May 2019. The same functionality supported for proton and carbon pencil-beam scanning, including robust optimization and evaluation, is also available for helium ions.

HIT is a leading German particle therapy facility and part of Heidelberg University Hospital. The center chose RayStation to replace its existing treatment planning systems in 2018 and began proton and carbon ion therapy treatments with RayStation in 2019. The hospital also treats patients using TomoTherapy, CyberKnife and conventional linacs, which is the focus of another cooperation between HIT and RaySearch. RayStation enables treatment planning for all these modalities with a single software platform.

Jürgen Debus, Professor and Medical Director, Department of Radiology, Heidelberg University Hospital, says: “We are very proud to announce a successful first patient treatment with helium ion therapy; everything went smoothly for the first and following fractions. RayStation handles helium plans effectively and exporting to the Siemens Fraction Sequences Planner works perfectly. I would like to convey a huge thanks to the team that has contributed to this success – we simply could not have done this without you.”

Johan Löf, founder and CEO, RaySearch, says: “We are very pleased to have helped Heidelberg University Hospital in achieving this success. RaySearch is dedicated to supporting advanced treatment techniques and approaches, and one of the aims with RayStation is to provide one treatment planning system for all radiation therapy modalities. We look forward to achieving new firsts together.”


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