Radiation therapy has been available at the College of Veterinary Medicine since 1984. Between 150 and 200 patients receive radiation annually. A recent private donation has allowed us to upgrade our technology to a state-of-the-art linear accelerator (Varian Novalis TX) with on-board imaging capabilities and a high-precision treatment couch. This allows us to precisely deliver radiation to your pet, which decreases normal tissue side effects and allows a higher dose to be given to the tumor, hopefully resulting in improved tumor control. Our equipment allows traditional forms of radiation delivery with photon and electron beams as well as advanced treatment delivery methods, including IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) and Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT) capabilities. We also have a Strontium-90 radiation device that allows us to treat small, superficial tumors in a single treatment. The type of radiation therapy that best suits your pet depends on the location, type, and stage (i.e., the extent of local tumor involvement and whether or not a tumor has spread) of cancer.
Traditional RT for Nasal Tumors
IMRT for Nasal Tumors
Our Linear Accelerator (Varian Novalis TX)
A linear accelerator (“linac”) is a very sophisticated x-ray machine. The accelerator can rotate around the patient, allowing it to be positioned optimally to deliver the radiation to just the right location. The multi-leaf collimator (leaves that shape the radiation field) allows for conformal radiation therapy (CRT) delivery. These leaves can move in and out of the treatment field during radiation delivery, allowing “dose painting” of a tumor. This type of radiation delivery is called IMRT, or Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy. This allows for improved sparing of normal tissues and the ability to increase the dose delivered to the tumor.
In addition to IMRT, our new linac has the ability to deliver SRT (stereotactic radiation) treatments. NCSU is one of fewer than 10 veterinary facilities in the world that have this technology available. SRT is an emerging radiation therapy delivery method that entails very precise (sub-millimeter) patient positioning using image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT) is also commonly referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), Gamma Knife radiosurgery, Stereotactic Body Radiosurgery (SBRT), and Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR). These treatments can be delivered with a linac like ours, or with a TomoTherapy unit or Cyberknife unit.
We are fortunate to have a kilovoltage x-ray On-Board Imaging system (OBI) that allows us to perform high-quality x-rays and even CT scans on patients immediately prior to radiation therapy to ensure that they are positioned in the exact position they need to be in for radiation delivery. To aid in this repositioning, we also have a Protura six-degrees-of-freedom treatment couch that allows sub-millimeter movements of the patient. These advanced technologies allow radiation treatment for large, non-resectable tumors including primary lung, brain, liver, and nasal tumors, as well as metastatic lesions in the lung and brain.