IGRT or Image Guided Radiation Therapy
Respiratory gating is an Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) technology that can improve the accuracy of radiation therapy treatment in selected patients. Tumors that move during the breathing cycle, such as those within the lung or liver, can present a problem for conventional radiation treatmentas moving targets, they are harder to "hit" with a focused beam of radiation. In order to properly treat these tumors with conventional radiation, a wider field must be targeted to account for the motion of the tumor within the treated area.
Respiratory gating is a technology, which allows the radiation oncologist to monitor the patient's breathing pattern during the treatment. The beam of radiation can then be turned on during only those portions of the breathing cycle desired by the treating physician; the beam is off during the remainder of the cycle. In this manner, the effects of respiratory motion can be significantly reduced, or even eliminated. This allows for more accurate targeting of the tumor, and potentially reduces the amount of radiation received by the surrounding healthy tissue.
At the CUMC Department of Radiation Oncology, respiratory gating is one the many ways physicians are working to improve the care of cancer patients.