The EMLC – a prizewinning development
A further milestone: In addition to the economical advantages, the EMLC opens up a new vista for the application of IMRT with electrons. “Better adjustment of the dose distribution on near-surface target volumes can be achieved by means of controlled segmentation using different electron energies”, the German Society of Medical Physics (DGMP) states in the awarding of the Elekta Research Prize for the development of the EMLC. Also the German Society of Radiation Oncology (DEGRO) and the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) awarded this development for its purpose to enable IMRT applications in electron radiotherapy.
Optimal therapy of superficial cancers
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with photons achieves higher conformity between treated volume and tumour volume and better sparing of the surrounding healthy tissue. In the treatment of superficial tumours such as mamma carcinoma or skin melanoma, however, photon IMRT often results in large volume of normal tissue exposed to a low dose. In contrast, electron radiation penetrates the tissue as deep as defined by the electron energy. Therefore, IMRT with electrons limits the irradiated volume and, as a consequence, protects adjacent and underlying healthy tissue and radiosensitive organs of heart and lung.
IMRT with electrons feasible
The EMLC combines the advantages of electron dose delivery and the technological potential of IMRT. The EMLC allows near-surface tumours to be irradiated and treated in a clinically optimal, effective and economical way. Performing IMRT with electrons using the EMLC is subject of further research and development in collaboration with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Close to patient
The EMLC can be used with all widely-used linear accelerators. In comparison to add-on photon MLCs, the EMLC is characterized by a compact design and lower total weight and is – all in all – easier to handle. As a result, the EMLC can be positioned as close to the patient as clinically necessary, without colliding with the patient. The EMLC is light in weight and enables dose delivery from all orientations without relevant tolerances due to gravitation.
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