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Triangulation keeps patients in their place

17 Jun 2002

Researchers at John Moores University in Liverpool, in the UK, have come up with a method of measuring patient position and movement to make cancer treatments more effective.

Conformal techniques in radiotherapy mean that the three-dimensional shape of the radiation that is administered is adjusted to the shape of the tumour. However, if the patient moves the effectiveness of the treatment is reduced.

A new system uses a laser to shine a structured pattern of light onto the patient's body, the curved surface of which distorts this pattern. A computer then produces a three-dimensional height map of the body surface. By triangulation, the researchers can determine where the patient is in relation to the axis about which the radiotherapy equipment rotates. The system also provides an accurate way of placing the patient in the same position for later treatments.

The technique is currently undergoing testing at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, in the UK.

Story courtesy of Opto and Laser Europe magazine

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