"Based on what we've seen of Perspecta's unique capabilities", stated Dr. James Chu, director of Medical Physics and professor in the department of Radiation Oncology, "we believe Perspecta could have a significant impact on a physician's ability to review a treatment plan for radiotherapy, especially when compared with current methods of visualizing treatment plans on a standard 2D display. Over the next several months, we will try to determine exactly how much of an advantage Perspecta offers."
Perspecta is the world's first commercial Spatial 3D display and consists of a 20-inch dome that plugs easily into a PC to display full-colour and full-motion images in true 3D space, much like a hologram. The images can be viewed and manipulated from any vantage point around the dome, by any number of users. Its application in medicine includes surgical planning, interventional imaging such as aligning a surgeon's scalpel or treatment device with a real-time 3D scan, image-guided tumour ablation, breast biopsy, catheter visualization, and now radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is currently used to treat human cancer, but the effectiveness of treatment depends on the medical team's ability to concentrate high radiation doses to the tumours while minimizing the doses to surrounding critical organs. This often requires complex radiation beam arrangements to achieve the desirable dose distributions in patients. In addition, research has shown that the use of strong magnetic fields may further improve the dose distributions. The precision of these procedures makes effective treatment planning critical to the success of any therapy. Perspecta offers doctors a unique, real-time 3D view that can significantly improve the effectiveness of that planning.
According to Dr. Chu, the ideal display system would show the arrangement of radiation beam paths, the orientation of the magnetic fields, and the dose distributions, all superimposed over patient images. However, the current method of planning for this type of treatment displays the patient images and radiation dose distributions on standard 2D flat screens, making it difficult to visualize the under-dosed regions in tumour and over-dosed regions in normal tissues. In addition, even when the problem areas are identified, it is often difficult to correct them without a true 3D view of the problem. Researchers are hopeful that a 3D visualization device such as Perspecta will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of radiation therapy of cancer patients.
"Spatial 3D has been proven to be faster and more accurate than 2D displays for many visualization tasks. Medical researchers hope to use Spatial 3D to their advantage, particularly for therapy planning, guidance, and certain forms of diagnosis", stated Gregg Favalora, founder and CEO of Actuality Systems. "We are very pleased with the reception Perspecta has received from Dr. Chu and his research team at Rush University Medical Center, and we look forward to their work over the next several months."
During the study, researchers will perform three key tasks:
- develop a method to rewrite CT and radiation dose distribution files into a format readable by the Perspecta system;
- develop a method to superimpose the dose and CT image files using the Perspecta display; and
- determine the advantages and disadvantages of using Perspecta compared with using conventional methods.