Eastman Kodak (Rochester, New York) demonstrated its computed radiography (CR) system for radiation oncology imaging and its Carestream Information Management Solutions at the 48th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO; Fairfax, Virginia), which concluded last week.

Speaking from the convention center in Philadelphia, Robin Hodownes, general manager, oncology solutions, in Kodak's Health Group, told Diagnostics & Imaging Week that Kodak has had "a very good show," particularly related to the company's computed radiography system.

"Typically, what we have found is we get a number of people around the product," she said. Even better, she said, "This year what we are finding is that people are really seeking us out, asking really excellent questions on our products, mainly with the intent to buy."

The Kodak 2000RT CR Plus System is an all-in-one CR solution for portal, simulation and dosimetry quality assurance imaging designed to offer "greater convenience than radiographic film" and "more affordable" than direct digital imaging technologies. Kodak also offers information management solutions that enable oncology treatment centers to store and manage patient information, treatment plans and images captured by a variety of different systems—all from a central database.

Kodak Carestream solutions "equip users to integrate and archive oncology images with data from other clinical and non-clinical imaging and information systems to improve productivity and efficiency while reducing overall costs," the company said.

"Like other healthcare providers, most oncology treatment centers have patient information stored in several different systems and need a central architecture that links these systems together and provides centralized access and storage," Hodownes said. "Facilities that install our information management solutions can achieve significant cost savings by eliminating the need for multiple storage systems."

"There has been a lot less of 'I want to learn about it' and more of 'I want to understand how this can fit into my workflow,'" she said.

Hodownes said the company is targeting Carestream Solutions to radiation oncology departments and cancer centers, highlighting the product's storage and archive solution.

Kodak also reported that worldwide sales of its 2000RT CR Plus System are up more than 70% this year to date over the same time period in 2005, with more facilities purchasing multiple units to help them achieve a filmless workflow. Sales of the platform's optional Kodak Radiation Oncology Beam Dosimetry Package have also been "very successful," the company said.

It said that U.S. facilities purchasing multiple 2000RT CR Plus systems this year include Intercommunity Cancer Centers (Leesburg, Florida); Mayo Foundation (Rochester, Minnesota); Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, (Houston); and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York). The 2000RT CR Plus system is marketed in 33 countries.

Kodak's portfolio includes picture archiving and communications systems, radiology information systems (RIS), healthcare information systems, CR and digital radiography systems, laser imagers, mammography and oncology systems, X-ray film systems, dental imaging products, and a range of consulting, repair and maintenance services.

Calypso Medical (Seattle) launched its Calypso 4D Localization System at ASTRO.

Calypso received FDA 510(k) clearance for the system in July for use with imaging systems for the prostate, which is subject to movement during imaging. The Calypso system uses electromagnetic technology in conjunction with implanted Beacon Electromagnetic Transponders designed to provide "objective, accurate and continuous tumor location information during external beam radiation therapy."

Eric Meier, president/CEO of Calypso, told D&IW that the system is the only one of its kind to pinpoint target location during imaging that is non-ionizing, or in other words, not releasing radiation.

The systems' transponders — smaller than a grain of rice — are placed "in proximity to the tumor," Meier said. When the transponders are coupled with the localization system, they send out "objective location instructions" to the radiation therapist "to register the patient's treatment target to isocenter prior to treatment."

The problem is that, due to respiration and other body movements and functions, organs move during radiation therapy. Thus, Calypso's system is designed to help radiation therapists make appropriate adjustments during treatment.

The system was evaluated in patients undergoing prostate radiation treatment between 2003 and 2006 at leading cancer centers. In those studies, investigators documented clinically relevant prostate motion present in the majority of patients.

The prostate motion was unpredictable and variable, patient to patient, and throughout the course of treatment. But by using the guidance from the Calypso system, clinicians responded to out-of-threshold conditions in real-time, to manage organ motion with individual protocols.

Calypso also reported two "product collaborations," one with the Radiology Oncology Systems unit of Philips (Andover, Massachusetts), another with IMPAC Medical Systems (Mountain View, California).

"Integrating continuous, real-time monitoring data with Philips' treatment planning software system builds on our collaboration agreement to co-develop product offerings that advance planning and treatment delivery techniques," Meier said. "Plans are under way to bring truly adaptive radiation therapy techniques to the clinical community through our collaboration."

With the collaboration, the Radiation Oncology Systems business of Philips expects to provide enhancements to its treatment planning systems with target localization data from the Calypso 4D Localization System.

Meier said Calypso's system and collaboration with others provides the "missing link to advance radiation treatment options with continuous target tracking."

"Today's highly conformal radiation therapy treatment options relay on knowing the exact location of the target moment to moment," Meier told D&IW.

Meier said that he expects the collaborations to bear results for the next "product introductions."

Meier also told D&IW that the company is investigating uses of its system in other "soft tissues."

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