News | Press Releases

November 28, 2005

New CT Scanner Specifically Designed For Cancer Patients Lets Physicians Locate, Treat Tumors More Accurately


Aquilion LB CT Scanner from Toshiba America Medical Systems
Has Larger-Than-Normal Opening, Allows Physicians to:
• Move Patients into Crucial Exam Positions
• Obtain More Accurate Images of Tumor Size, Location
• More Precisely Target Tumors During Radiation Treatment

TUSTIN, Calif., November 28, 2005 – With CT scanners playing a key role in the detection and treatment of cancer, the leading cause of death among Americans under age 85, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. has introduced a new “large bore” CT scanner specifically designed for cancer patients. 

The AquilionTM LB CT scanner has a larger-than-normal opening so that radiation oncologists can move their patients into crucial exam positions – without being limited by the size of the scanner’s opening, as with other models – in order to capture the most accurate images possible and position the patient for optimal treatment.  They then can use these images to better detect, localize and treat tumors during radiation therapy.

Because radiation therapy involves directing a radiation beam from a machine at the tumor, it’s vital that radiation oncologists are able to precisely locate and measure the size and position of a patient’s tumor during CT scans, so they can target the tumor and not the surrounding tissue (which can cause serious side effects) during therapy. 

With the new CT scanner, they now can move patients, particularly those with breast and lung cancer, into the positions needed to get the best images possible.  The scanner then sends this information electronically to the radiation therapy machine, which mirrors the exact location and size of the tumor when delivering radiation beams.

In addition to its medical benefits, the new scanner’s larger opening makes the scanning experience more comfortable for cancer patients.

Toshiba has installed its first Aquilion LB CT scanner at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.  The company expects the new scanner to be widely available for cancer patients at hospitals and medical imaging centers around the country within six months. 

Role of CT Scanning In Cancer Treatment
Radiation oncologists use CT scanners to confirm the presence of a tumor and measure its size and exact location.  They then incorporate CT information into the patient’s radiation therapy plan to help them properly administer treatments.  These plans typically last 5-7 weeks and include CT scans throughout the period of treatment.

“When imaging cancer patients, a primary concern is optimizing cancer treatment planning,” said Dr. Edward J. Holupka, director of physics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School.  “Therefore, it’s paramount we have the technology required to accurately obtain the information we need, regardless of patient positioning or size issues.”

Until now, one of the main challenges faced by radiation oncologists in scanning cancer patients has been the dimensions of the CT scanner with its small sized bore or opening.  While a traditional scanner’s opening is 70 cm (27 inches), the size of the Aquilion LB’s opening is 90 cm (35 inches), a big enough difference that it’s possible to much more accurately scan cancer patients in a variety of positions. 

With the new scanner, patients with breast cancer, for instance, can now easily and comfortably place their arms over their heads or at other necessary angles, positions usually not possible with a traditional CT scanner, which requires patients to keep their arms at their sides. 

Full Diagnostic Scanner
Because of its larger opening, the Aquilion LB, which is a full diagnostic CT scanner, also can be used for larger patients having bariatric surgery and trauma patients. The system’s larger bore allows for increased access to the patient, which is important when doing interventional procedures, such as needle biopsies, CT-guided drainage and tumor ablation.

FDA Market Clearance
Toshiba received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) marketing clearance for its new Aquilion LB CT scanner in March 2005. 

About CT Scans
While computed tomography (CT) uses X-ray technology, it’s distinguished from other diagnostic imaging tools, such as  traditional X-ray and MRI, by its ability to display a combination of soft tissue (muscles, tissue, organs and fat), bones and blood vessels all in a single image.  Clinicians perform CT scans to diagnose kidney, lung, liver, spine and blood diseases, cancer, tumors and cysts, as well as blood clots, hemorrhages and infections.

Typical CT exams cost between $500 and $1,500, depending on geographic location and depth of analysis.

About Toshiba
With headquarters in Tustin, Calif., Toshiba America Medical Systems markets, sells, distributes and services diagnostic imaging systems, and coordinates clinical diagnostic imaging research for all modalities in the United States.  Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, an independent group company of Toshiba Corporation, is a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, MRI and information systems.  Toshiba Corporation is a leader in information and communications systems, electronic components, consumer products and power systems.  Toshiba has approximately 161,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of $53 billion.
AquilionTM is a trademark of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, Inc.