Crews are installing a mobile linear accelerator in a new radiation therapy facility at UTMB Health’s Specialty Care Center at Victory Lakes in League City.
“Tomotherapy offers our patients cutting edge cancer care in their own backyard,” said Dr. Todd Swanson, radiation oncologist at the Specialty Care Center. Dr. Swanson said the facility will be one of three offering Helical Tomotherapy in the Houston-Galveston area. It is scheduled to open in May.
Linear accelerators generate x-ray or electron beams used for radiation therapy. The center’s TomoHD Mobile unit is contained inside a 55-foot trailer on wheels. Technology advances have allowed engineers to reduce the size of linear accelerators since they were introduced for medical use in the 1950s.
The TomoHD Mobile accelerator unit itself is one of fewer than 10 in operation in the world, said its manufacturer, Accuray Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif.
“As opposed to traditional radiation therapy machines, which deliver a wide beam of radiation from only a few angles, this specialized system targets tumors with highly precise radiation delivered from 360 degrees around the patient – increasing the doctor’s control in getting radiation where it needs to be while decreasing the chance of damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs,” Dr. Swanson said.
Specialized movers transported the unit from its assembly site in the Midwest and placed the unit in League City on March 24. The accelerator and associated equipment arrived in a convoy of three trucks from Madison, Wis. Crews and drivers anchored the accelerator on a concrete pad on the south side of the center. Workers are building a covered walkway to connect the accelerator with the center.