May 11, 2020

You Cannot Fight Fair When Treating Cancer

Kenny Perkins

Learn how VisionRT is breaking all of the "rules" by incorporating artificial intelligence when treating cancer patients. They are revolutionizing how cancer fighters receive their treatments and the positive impact is a game changer. In this episode you will see how modern technology has taken the law into its own hands so to speak and has given cancer fighters remarkable results.

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Hello and welcome to All Talk Oncology. I’m your host, Kenny Perkins, aka the cancer guy. And let me say, wow, we have an amazing guest today, you know, technology and what its moving to. It’s this field is just evolving so much and we’ve seen it right before our eyes. I mean, like I said, I’ve been doing this for 20 years to see where things are going. It reminds me of a show when you’re watching the movie and its a bank robbery and the guy is coming and they’re fully loaded. Their rifles and their guns are fully loaded, and “nobody move nobody be hurt” or kind of reminds me of that song, right? Nobody move, everybody face down and you better not move, you better not flinch. You better not blink an eyebrow, you better not blink. It is this fear of actually losing your life for a mistake of moving accidentally. You’re not worried about scratching your head. At that time, when that’s happening, you are following all directions. And so that reminds me of exactly the technology that this field is bringing. This technology is bringing types of treatments, that will detect submillimeter movement. Why? Same reason why you wouldn’t move during a bank robbery, it’s for your safety. For the best outcome for you it’s for your benefit and so when you think about the guest were going to have on today and what they created, it’s like that bank robbery. This technology is for our benefit so that we can have the best outcome, you know. So, I’m delighted to have our next guest and I hope you are too. If you want to know nobody move, nobody be hurt, I don’t know if you guys ever heard that song. It’s an old song. But that’s kind of how it went nobody move, nobody be hurt. It’s kind of what this company is about and it’s about making sure that you maintain the position that you put in. So, you can have the best outcome in your cancer journey.

And so, all of this when you think about a game-changer, this is what this company is about. It’s about changing the game in the cancer industry; it’s about being able to maximize the most amount of therapeutic treatment with the least amount of effects. I mean if I had cancer, I want you to zap me with a maximum amount of radiation possible because I don’t want to have to deal with this thing ever coming back again, I don’t want to have to think about that. I want to be able to move forward with my life, with the security of knowing we destroy that thing. You took that beast and we destroy, we killed that. We kill every single cancer cell. And so, what is that involve? It involves you maintaining the position and not moving. Nobody move, nobody be hurt. You know, I never thought I’d be saying that but considering what the technology that were dealing with, so appropriate.

So, I want to be able to introduce our next guest. Today on all talk oncology. We have an Innovative company in the Cancer industry known as Vision RT. Vision RT has led the way in providing patient safety during treatment utilizing, state-of-the-art modern technology here to discuss this technology is Vicky Howard. Vicky is a certified medical physicist, who has been involved in many areas of radiation oncology patient care, and technology advancements over her 24-year career. Vicky is currently working as a clinical physicist with vision RT where she is able to apply her Frontline clinical and product expertise to continue to support the safe delivery of radiation therapy. And as a part of the Innovative Vision RT team, let’s  welcome, Vicky Howard.

Thank you Kenny, I’m glad to talk about our technology

Absolutely Vicky, I am so delighted to have you on our show today. This is amazing.

Yeah, it’s very Innovative technology and really changing how radiation therapy is treated on a daily basis.

You know Vicky, I wanted to talk to you, I want to say before we even get going, how are you doing? How are you and your family with everything that’s happening with the coronavirus and things like that, how are you holding up? How was your safety?

Good. We’re managing, of course, you know, I already work from home, so I’m in travel stuff and I have kids surrounding me. So, it really is a workwise and as a company, we still been able to continue with our Innovation and reach out to our customers, not necessarily physically but usually and they’re still being supportive about service wise. Really it’s at best we can, it’s business as usual and life as usual but yes, life changed certainly.  

That’s good to hear you know. I mean, you being out there on the front lines and knowing what’s happening out there is so good to know that as you were ensuring that patients are safe that you’re safe as well. So, you know, I wanted to just jump right into this. You know, there’s so much to talk about with Vision RT. Talk to me a little bit, who is Vision RT? Tell me a little bit about you.

Sure, really the core of our business Vision RT is that where the inventor of surface guided radiation therapy. Also referred to as SGRT in acronym. Our company overall now offers a range of innovative solutions using computer vision in artificial intelligence, to ensure radiation therapy, cancer treatments are delivered safely to the intended area. Overall, at Vision RT, our corporate goal is to continuously strive to improve accuracy, efficiency of treatments and also comfort of radiation therapy treatments to patients and really, becoming a standard of care for radiation therapy all around the globe.

Wow. You know, I can’t help but to pick up on you talking about artificial intelligence, you know, so this has now been incorporated into treatments now as what you’re saying?

Yes, it has as well as, you know, from patient identification all the way through to being able to assess how to best visualize the patient’s surface during the treatment process.

Sure, wow. That’s definitely state of the art for sure. You know, those are the type of things you read about or you see in movies, right? Artificial intelligence. Guess what? Now, it’s here and it’s a part of treatments. It’s a part of cancer treatments and you can ask for that. So that’s all good to know. And so that kind of lead me right into so, what is Align RT and how does this work?

Align RT is really the core part of the Vision RT portfolio of products, and you have many other products that link up with this system. Basically, it uses an in-house developed proprietary Innovative 3D camera technology and access continuous eyes on the patient before and during the radiation treatment process. How it functions is, Align RT actually tracks the patient’s body surface in real time. So, it uses a set of three cameras to reconstruct the patient’s surface and its always watching and the patient during treatment.

Let me say this, you said that there is real-time surface guidance that’s tracking and continuous eyes. You mean there’s someone or something that’s kind of watching as the treatments are being delivered?

Yes, we have a set of three cameras  that are inside the treatment vault, where the patient is laying on the table during their treatment. And of course, since we’re delivering radiation, the radiation therapist cannot stay in the room with the patient once they’re set up. They actually have to leave, go outside the room. close the big door and they’re on the control area outside. Traditionally, they would be watching the patient and they still do through smaller TV, like, monitors from outside the room. And that’s how they would be able to look to see if the patient staying in place while the radiation is being delivered. However, can you imagine? That can only be so accurate, and it can be tricky for therapist to keep eyes on a patient 100% of the time that they can’t take a moment and glance away. There’s many other things that they need to pay attention to during radiation delivery. So, our system acts as a computer eyes on a patient and we can see any patient movement down to a few cents of a millimeter. And as soon as patient moved out of their intended treatment position, our system will automatically alert therapist who are outside in the control area that patient has moved. Our system can also be configured to speak to the delivery system so that it can automatically turn off the radiation while the patient is in imposition, and it will turn back on when the patients back in their intended position. So, there’s a whole wide array of clinical benefits to this in terms of accuracy and precision of our ability to treat patients. And it also opened up and have a whole different array of treatment options for patients.

I picked up something you said in here. You said that it’s able to detect submillimeter movements. I mean that’s pretty precise. I mean, that means I can’t even scratch my nose right? If I try to scratch my nose during treatment, I mean patients, we do that right? Sometimes subconsciously blocking out, I’m scratching my nose and so you’re telling me this system is able to detect submillimeter movement.

Correct, it’s that kind of level of precision is more important, in some areas of the body versus other, we use very precise positioning for treatments in the brain for instance. Other areas, you know it’s breathing motion. Of course, we don’t expect the patients be able to stay still submillimeter. So, you know, we would open up the tolerance and those areas and that’s all accounted for it and how the position plans up the treatment.

Absolutely, the first thing to me that brought comfort. When you said submillimeter, I was like, wow I can’t even scratch my nose but what really popped into my head was thinking, you know what? When you have those little kids there on her treatment, right? I mean, unfortunately, you know, there’s the Pediatric patients that come in and they need treatment for cancer and you know, those little guys, you know, they’re curious right, there looking around there in the room, and go ahead, what’s going on here? And so, you wonder about that, right? Because they don’t necessarily have that understanding of not moving, and so, right? So, when you talking about that, you know, being able to detect submillimeter movement, when you have children involved, how important is that, right?

It’s actually in some instances, change the workflow for pediatric treatment. In the past, it was pretty common for children to be placed under anesthesia during treatment because they really just could not expect him to stay still. But what they’re finding now, is kids, of course of a certain age range. There a powered by being able to see their position and help align themselves? They actually do an excellent job staying in position and staying still and they can avoid having to go under the process of anesthesia. So, it really significantly simplifies treatment overall.

Absolutely, and you know, I hate to date myself here. But you know, I remember when I was treating patients, you know, 20 years ago, we have those little guys come in and you couldn’t deliver or administer radiation without having the anesthesiologist there. It was a whole process. It was the whole team. God forbid, these kids move in and you didn’t hit the targets. I mean, you talking about coming a long way, with Vision RT in the systems that there that there utilizing is just amazing to me. And so, it goes right into Vicky like, you know, so without this SGRT technology, what does current treatments look like for radiation therapy patients?

Well, in general, without using our SGRT technology, patient prior to their treatments to go through with all the treatment planning process which all patients go through no matter whether our technology is used or not. However, during that process, there are mark place on the patient, rand that’s used to help align the patient daily for their treatment. So these are either temporary marks that they need to stay on throughout the course of treatment, but more often they’re permanent tattoos on the patients. So, they would get a probably anywhere from 3, 4 to 5 tattoos that are used to align position the patient daily. Also, in general, more expensive, patient immobilization is required which really is just you know way forms and molds that are used to make sure the patients comfortable and in a very reproducible position. For a treatment, it’s really important that the way they’re set up for their planning process is exactly the same as our set up every day of their treatment delivery. So, we need to really make sure using mobilization but that’s the case.

You know Vicky, I remember that’s what we used to do. I mean I think that’s what we currently do. A lot of centers still using utilizing this technology. You get the patient in, and we have to know exactly where it’s a line in the radiation too so were giving these tattoos. And so, what you’re saying, then is what this technology. Tattoos are no longer needed. So, you saying tattoos going to be a thing of the past potentially then, huh.

Yes potentially. For sure if you have Align RT on your system, there’s really no need for a tattoo on the patient. Our system knows exactly where the radiation should be targeted relative to the surface of the patient, and it’s almost like having a thousand tattoos really its using all this data from the patient surface to align to that one point where we want to deliver, you know, it’s far more accurate even than the tattoo.

Exactly. And, you know, I was just thinking  for therapist and I don’t want to just assume right because all my listeners here are not necessarily therapist. So, without SGRT, how old is a life look like for a therapist and what they have to do?

Well, when they bring the patient into the treatment room, they’d be lying the patient on what they call the treatment table. They need to make sure the patients straight and aligned on the table so it’s a lot of minor movements of the patient and slow positioning and kind of leaving things here and there. However, you know, if you only have a few points to align to and  used to be so very accurately positions, laser the reference point, they can be very tricky. So, a lot of cases without approach, when say a line of patient, they’ll go outside of the room, and they’ll pick on something I call images of the patient just to double-check whether how they think they’re lined on the outside matches with the alignment should look like on the inside of the patient. And it’s more likely, more often and not with the more traditional line of approaches, mark and tattoos, they’re going to have to fine-tune that positioning of the patient, a sum of images. With our technology in general, patients more accurately position from the get-go. So, there’s really not as many cases where when the image they have to realign and go back into the room. Overall, it makes the whole treatment process into and far more efficient.

Yeah absolutely.  So help me out here Vicky so without SGRT technology today and a lot of the radiation centers that are not utilizing this Align RT, what is what is treatments look like?

Yeah, that the patient is positioned more of a in a manual way aligning to the marks or the tattoos that have been given. The therapists are in the room with the patient during the setup process, but then of course, they have to leave the room like I mentioned to go outside to do the delivery. During that time and they’re leaving the room, really, there’s no eyes on the patient. They can’t see the patient until they’re outside in the control area, looking at the TV monitors. So there’s kind of one area where you know the patient could easily scratch their nose like you mentioned in kind of moved slightly but then kind of get back into position and really the therapist wouldn’t know any different looking at the monitor from outside at that point. So with our technology, you know, really were not dependent on that. Our cameras are always on and always looking at the patient. So, if as a therapist are walking outside the treatment rooms, the patient leaves, they’re going to see it on our system out in the control area that the patient is no longer in the position, they should be in. So that’s one big difference because there aren’t as many eyes on the patients for the treatment process traditionally. That’s why we use more mobilization to try to circumvent any extra patient movement. So that we really can minimize that. With Align RT, we don’t have to use as much mobilization which I think often the patient are far more comfortable during a whole treatment process and a quicker setup on a daily basis as well.

Absolutely, you know, once we turn around and speaking from a therapist standpoint, we do our best to line the patient up and once we turn our back, we have no idea what’s going on and for us, were constantly looking at those little monitors and making sure that the patient is still in. It goes directly against what our parents told us. Right? We’re always told, hey step back from the TV, but you know, you’re talking safety and radiation and we are fixated on those little monitor so to know here your technology of Vision RT is able to say, hey we’ve taken that into consideration, we realize that through our technology, you can actually have the patient being track submillimeter movements and allows a little bit more security for those that are giving the treatments. And so, that’s absolutely amazing.

Yes, most definitely and it puts up more confidence on the physician’s perspective. So, as I mentioned before really it sort of opened up different treatment options, shorter treatment regimen, we will be able to target the tumor a lot more accurately with smaller volume which really have a huge clinical benefit overall.

Vicky, as I seen you here talking about this, I was thinking, what patient or what radiation oncologist wouldn’t want to have better outcomes from their patient, right? I mean this is going towards the standard of treatment here of what I’m looking at, especially with everything that’s happening today. So, this is absolutely amazing and which makes me ask you, the next question is, what are the clinical patient benefits of SGRT? What are they?

Sure, I mean as I kind of eluded to you, really, you can use our technology anywhere head-to-to. Wherever we’re treating on a patient. But there are specific areas where there are huge clinical benefits and it’s really changed treatment options in treatment delivery techniques for the better really quite quickly over the last several years. There are several notable areas, I’ll talk about one, zero tactic radiation therapy, otherwise known as SRS and with that, it is a highly precise single-fraction very high radiation does treatment for brain metastases. Now traditionally, when patients had brain metastases, our only option at that point was we would treat the patient’s entire brain and basically just try to preserve quality of life as best we could during those in-stages. However, now we can go in and target small metastases that, you know,  can be five millimeters and go in there and just target that prone area and preserve the function of the rest of the brain. These patients are having far more significant quality of life because you’re able to target is much more accurately.

You know, to speak on that, I remember those days. These patients, they came into the department with these Halos, right? They have these bolts kind of screwed into their skull. And I mean, you can’t go to the mall like that. I mean, right ? it is something like out of a sci-fi movie right? It’s like, okay, what are you doing? So, you’re stuck. You’re stuck all day in an apartment with this Halo. I mean it looks extremely uncomfortable. And so, it was a nightmare. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the fact of what we were doing was amazing, right? We’re able to treat high doses, but what they had to go through, right? I mean, would you not agree?

Oh, for sure. So, yeah, as you just cried, the patient traditionally before our technology could have simplified the process for us, it would be a metalhead frame literally bolted to their head, then to their skull very early in the morning by a neurosurgeon. Then it would start with a treatment planning process. It is very labor-intensive even for the staff in the department because all this had to happen all in one day while the patient waited with his head frame on. It would have their treatment planning CT. Patient go off somewhere comfortable within the department and they would wait and wait and wait while the physician decided on their treatment volume while with call the medical dosimetrist or physicists did the actual treatment planning part. Then there’s a lot of quality assurance checks that had to happen beyond that. And finally, usually treatment didn’t happen until the very end of the treatment day often before 5 p.m., meanwhile,  the patient has arrived in the department probably 6 a.m. and the treatments with the head frame lasting anywhere from an hour to two hours depending. It was very labor-intensive for staff and very long days and, of course, for the patient. You know, it was very tiresome day and for their family too to accompany them.

Absolutely, If you think about people operate today, I mean parents are busy these days. They need to take their kids to school. They need to pick them up for school. I mean, it’s hard enough to know. Okay, I have cancer and I need to get up and go to get my treatment but yet to know, okay, I got to be there all day like that. It’s just overwhelming, right? It’s just draining. And it’s just a reminder, you know, at least now what you’re telling me here is with Align RT, because of this technology, now you’re able to come in right when you’re getting ready to have treatments. No longer are you utilizing some of these old technologies, right? Is this kind of what we’re talking about here?

Exactly, yeah. So, the purpose of the metalhead frame which, really, to act as a frame of reference to really precise and accurate position. The head frame would actually be bolted to the table during treatment. The patient wasn’t moving with a head frame on. We can’t have the patient moving while we are charging such high doses in small areas. However, with our surface guidance system with Align RT, we’re constantly looking at the patients face surface, and we know whether that patient is in position or not. It’s very high level of accuracy and if they’re not in their position, So what we’ve been able to do is just have patience called open face masks because they are in an immobilization, but they’re much more comfortable if the mask is open. And really, the whole end-to-end process is very similar to our normal patient workload, so no longer the patient have to come and stay in the department all day until they have their treatment. So how it works, if they will come for their called, treatment planning CT, they now go home and we will do all the work. So while they are relaxing and searching may not be four to three days after that. So, while they’re home relaxing we are doing all the hard work with doing a treatment plan, doing the quality assurance check and once a patient comes in for treatment, it’s very quick and easy, much similar to just the standard radiation therapy treatment. Of course, there are, you know, it is still a little bit more involved. However, in general treatments are probably 15 to 45 minutes depending on how many areas we’re treating as opposed to, you know, an hour and a half up to three hours. I’ve been involved in treatments that long, it’s the more traditional headframe approach. It’s much easier for the patients. Also, the patients struggling during treatment, we can get them up and have them relaxed  and then position them again to exactly where they need to be.

Which is so important, right? I mean, you don’t know what you’re up against it, until you’re there. And so, to know that you have the flexibility, right? Align RT gives you the flexibility to equate for some of those interruptions during treatments and its already hard enough just to be there in to go through that. So, to know that there’s a technology that makes the process a lot easier. It’s so refreshing to know that and so that kind of leads me to the next, right? Because right now were talking, okay, were in the brain and understanding that piece, how does that work with other parts of the body, right? I mean, how does that work with maybe the lung or things like that?

Sure, it’s a very similar approach. We’re using our technology that works well for these treatments where we’re able to deliver much higher doses in smaller volume. It’s very similar to normal workloads of the standard radiation therapy treatment. In my experience in the clinic, when we started using Align RT, for some of these like lung and liver treatment, initially, we kind of help on some of our old approaches where we immobilized the patient a lot, still, even though we were using SGRT. But over time we realize that we didn’t need all of that localization. We could simplify our treatment. It was more comfortable for the patients, with more efficient with the therapist setting up the patients every day. So really, our system allows to be more efficient with the devices you’re using, the time at your treatment set up, all while still being able to maintain that high level of accuracy you need for some of these lung and liver treatment. Instead of the usual three- or four-week course of radiation therapy where you going 5 to 7 days a week. These are usually  a couple times a week for anywhere from three to five fractions, every day or every other day. So, you know, it’s a less burden on some on a wise application, more comfortable for the patient during delivery. So, it’s certainly changed treatment options for brain and lung and liver.

And for the better, right? I mean, for me, if I’m the patient, I come in, I want you to give me the most amount of radiation necessary to kill that cancer, right? Give me whatever it takes to remove this cancer from my body. I don’t ever want it to come back. I don’t ever want it to be here again. So, to know that you have some technology in a piece of equipment that allows to be able to track submillimeter movements while I’m getting that type of high-dose radiation, that brings so much security to me, right? So much.

Right, and the reason, you know, were able to give much higher doses of radiation is with our ability to track so accurately. Physician don’t have to deliver such large treatment volume. You know, traditionally we need the patient to move, breath  and can control all that. Physician will ad-on some wiggle room called margin to where they knew the tumor was at. And the downside of that was that meant that probably some healthy tissue is getting radiation. When we know that’s not really ideal and that healthy tissue, depending on what it is and the amount of radiation can lead to potential side effects for the patient. So really, with our technology, the physicians are much more confident in really honing in on the tumor and not having to put as much wiggle margin around that tumor so they can save healthy tissue really well. That is how they were able to give much more radiation and much more effective.

That is so promising because if I have cancer, I come in, I want it out of my body and I want you to do whatever it takes. But I mean, I want to also spare some of whatever else that doesn’t necessarily need to be treated and that kind of goes into you know some of the treatments that we see Vicky, maybe we talk about some of the most common types of treatments that we see. One I ever say from my experience, you also being 20 years and more, you see a lot of breasts, you see a lot of prostates, so what are you doing? How does Align RT work when it comes to breast patients specifically?

Right, we can use our system to with both left sided breast patient or right sided breast patient. However, there’s a very significant advantage of using our system with left breast patient solely because the heart is on that side and what was discovered is if we treat the patients when they’re holding their breath in, it’s called deep inspiration breath hold, what happens to the heart is it sort down and out of our treatment field. So the heart received far less radiation doses if any at all. And what they found is, that leads to significantly lower risk of any radiation-induced abnormalities in blood flow in the heart. There is a study at UNC hospital in Chapel Hill North Carolina, where I’m at where they looked at left breast patients treated with Align RT and deep inspiration breath-hold, and they compared that group to a set that was not treated with Align RT or breath-hold. And what they stand is 0% of the patients who were treated with Align RT and breath-hold had any abnormalities after 6 months in the abnormalities on their heart. Now, the other group that we are comparing to on the study, without Alight RT or DIBH, they found that 27% of those patients showed abnormalities in blood flow to the heart six months after radiation. So that group of patients are at a higher risk of no cardiac issues in the future.

That piece right there Vicky, you know, I come in to get my cancer treated and not necessarily get my heart treated, right? And so that’s a huge thing and, you know, you want to make sure that as a patient I’m coming in, I don’t want to come out having Heart problems, right? I just want this cancer out of my breast, right? So yeah, that’s huge.

Most definitely, and traditionally, you know, it wasn’t really an option. They had to make sure they got all the cancer. So, the side effect was you have this risk but now we can pretty much avoid that risk all together by using our technology so it’s truly a game-changer. Although what’s surprising to me is not a lot of patients are really educated on some of these options but there are more resources that are out there now for patient education including this podcast so that’s great.

Yeah absolutely, All Talk Oncology, right? And so, you know, Vicky, you think about why is Vision RT technology different than other treatment approaches?

Overall, at this point I just talked about our Align RT product which is the backbone of our portfolio of products but really we are working toward offering our customers and in the end, the patient for the integrated product line to work seamlessly through the entire radiation therapy process. Not just during treatment delivery. Our goal is to ensure safe, accurate, in-line care from the time the duration patient walks into the department to their last day of treatment. So, our end-to-end solution increases _ of treatments. Our eyes in the patient’s system allows children therapist to focus on what’s important and providing high-quality care while also having the time to develop quality relationship with patients. So, we have, but one part of our product line. Now I’ll talk about it briefly is a party ID as we call it. So, it uses facial recognition software. Cute to be able to identify you as a patient and find knowing that you’ve been identified. But also linked up to that you are also going to receive the treatment that is delivered specifically designed specifically for you and that your  setup is going to be correct. I’m sure you’re still with the therapist. A very important side benefit to all that is a lot of this is happening passively versus, you know, sort of the cold part of traditional radiation therapy treatment, you know, the everyday you tell me your name, your date of birth, where we’re treating you and that’s just not sincere and personal. So now, you know, that cannot happen in the background and you can ask your patient, you know, how was your weekend? How are your kids doing? You know, you have a little bit more time, you know, compressed time as it is for treatment. You really make a connection with the patients. I mean, your service always did a great job making a connection with your patients, but you know, this is just takes it to another level allowing to do that more authentic and let the technology do all the other bookkeeping working quality assurance work. So that’s one thing that really makes our approach or end-to-end approach different.

Not only that Vicky, you know, I’m listening to the facial recognition and the things like that but, what you said earlier about eliminating, some of these heart risk that are out there, you know with the coronavirus today, right? I mean I have cancer. So, I know, right? I meant if I’m a patient, I have cancer. I know, I have to go in and get treatments, right? I mean, I know that, but I don’t want to be touched. I mean, please touch me the minimum amount. Because I don’t want to necessarily come down with that and I think that was what’s happening today right? And looking at your technology and what you are doing as far as eliminating some of the unnecessary contamination risk. That’s so much ahead of the game, you know your company Vision RT is so ahead of the game in that way because you are thinking, about this whole virus is going to revolutionize on how medical technology is used to treat patients moving forward.

Most definitely, I mean, really our product lines end-to-end is the core is really based on contact three approaches. We do have our competitors out there that have products that you very similar things to Vision RT. However, a lot of those use devices that are placed on the patient or identification methods that require you touching of devices. Like you said, there is that risk of contamination and infection and at the same time cleaning and disinfecting these devices between patients. So, if you can let eyes on the patient, eyes on the room, eyes on everything, from a digital perspective do all that work, like you said, you’re minimizing the risk of contamination and knowing that the patient, their immune system is already weakened because they’re fighting every day.

Some of these patients are not only is concurrent chemo, right? So, you did a chemotherapy, then you are coming down for radiation. And so, yeah, I mean, you used to talk about the immune system being affected and then you’re worried about. Okay, am I going to get this virus? So, I think I’m focusing on this just because this is a pandemic that were seeing across the world and so just lucky that Vision RT is already kind of answering some of that. It’s just amazing to me. And so, as I look at this Vicky how many senators in the US are using this technology?

Apparently, there’s , you know, little over 20% centers in the US that use SGRT technology. Nine out of ten of the best hospitals for cancer journey in the US use our technology attestation to the success Vision RT had over the years. Basically, this is what we talked about before, there’s a paradigm shift happening in radiation treatment delivery and I think it will not be long until, you know, it’ll be standard of care in all centers using surface guided radiation therapy technology. Of course, it all cost money so, it takes time for centers to transition and get on board, but I would think within three to five years, in my opinion, it’s going to be in the majority of centers across the US and across the world. We’re seeing a big surge in China, India and Europe, as well. So, it really is changing things worldwide treatments.

And that’s what I was going to ask next, and you just kind of answered that is, what about those countries that are outside the US? I know were here. But you know, were talking about cancer overall, and  we’re talking about best overall outcome, so as far as minimum amount of movement and so that  you get the maximum amount of radiation to the targeted area. And so, you think about other countries that are actually cheating cancer, right? So, to know that, Vision RT is now reaching out beyond on just the US, that’s very encouraging.

It is, and really what it is, is research speaks for itself, not necessarily our internal research. But many of our customers are very actively involved in their own research studies or clinical trials, looks at the benefits of SGRT technology. Majority of these research papers are based on our Vision RT, Align RT technology and these papers are distributed worldwide. So, it is the numbers in the value of it speaks for itself.

Sure, you know, you think about the amount of radiation that is administered on to these patients. And what it takes in order to have the maximum amount of effects as far as in a good way. Are most patients aware of the risk of radiation and their treatment options?

In my opinion, I would say no unfortunately even though there’s a lot of technical information available. It can be overwhelming for patients to seek this out especially in the midst of a cancer diagnosis. So, they really are just following the guidance of the physician that they might be referred to. They don’t have our technology. Then, of course, you’re probably not going to talk to him about that as being a treatment option. However, I believe it’s really important for patients to know that they do have a choice and that there are avenues out there where they can educate themselves and get information and also become a part of the community of patients who might be struggling with the same diagnosis and looking at different approaches that are available to them.

That’s one of the reasons why I created this All Talk Oncology podcast is to be able to give that type of information to the patient and so that they know exactly how to go about moving forward, things to ask their physician when it comes to their treatment. And so that kind of lead me right to what are next question is, how can patients learn more about this?

Right, at  Vision RT, we recognize the same issue where patient has a hard time learning some of these options and benefits of our technology. So, we actually recently created AlignRTedu.com and that’s a patient-focus resource that discusses some of the benefits of SGRT. You can also use that as a place to search out where our technology is available to them, they can easily enter their zip code. And then that will pop up and will show them all the centers that have our technology. So, for me personally don’t come would, but if I were diagnosed with, certainly left breast cancer left side of breast cancer, I would want to know where I could go to get this technology and it’s interesting to specifically suppress patient of the places they need to get permanent tattoos. Because even it is just the size of a freckle, they’re still very revealing and telling area, usually the center of the chest during the area, and other people have no idea.

You’re talking about breast patients, right?

Yes, but if they don’t use SGRT technology, they’re going to need to have the tattoo and then it will be a permanent reminder for them of their radiation therapy treatment. But you know, other people can’t see it, studies and feedback we’ve gotten from patients through our communities, patients are really you know concerned about not wanting to have tattoos. There are  patients who will travel, you know, up to 45 miles to go to a center who offers our technology so that they can not have tattoos.  So I’m kind of circling back around one other important aspect that you could go to AlignRTedu.com, enter your zip code and you can easily find out where our technology is available for you.

So important, patient education is so important and not only that, to all of my listeners out there if you didn’t get that, it’s AlignRTedu.com and you also can find out on my page to you’ll be able to look at and find VisionRT on my page, we’ll be featuring on there, alltalkoncology.com and you’ll find a link to VisionRT. Look that up you know were talking about revolutionizing the cancer treatments. Vicky I’m so happy that we were able to have you on our show. VisionRT is revolutionizing how patients are receiving their treatment and I think it’s going to revolutionize how other companies move forward especially with what we’ve seen today. So again, I wanted to give a special thank you to medical physicist Vicky Howard, for joining our show today and the entire VisionRT team.

Oh, thank you. It was a pleasure.

And I want to thank everyone who tuned in today. Here is where you will find up-to-date cancer discussions with industry experts and leading professionals, that can help you in your cancer Fight. You are not alone in this. We are in this together, I’m your host Kenny Perkins, aka the cancer guy and until again, I’m out.

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The information, views, and opinions shared and discussed in this podcast are the experiences of the guest and host which are not meant to serve as medical advice and do not necessarily state or reflect the official views and position of All Talk Oncology.  Please consult your medical professional for all your medical-related questions and guidance.