Can be used for determining tumor volume definition from medical images for general cancer treatment in LDR and HDR brachytherapy.
Soft-tissue sarcomas are tumors that arise in the soft tissues that connect, support and surround other parts of the body, such as muscles, tendons, fat, joint linings, and blood vessels. Approximately 6,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. Although soft-tissue are sarcomas are relatively rare, representing only about one percent of all cancer cases, they provide unique challenges in detection and treatment. In the past, the standard treatment for this type of cancer included amputation of limbs or radical surgery. Recent advances have lead to treatment of these cancers with more conservative surgery combined with radiation therapy. Brachytherapy is an advanced type of radiation therapy that occurs from within the body, as opposed to external application of radiation to the tumor and surrounding tissues. The benefit of brachytherapy is that a high dose of radiation may be applied to the tumor or tumor bed while reducing the dose to surrounding healthy tissues. One limitation of this therapy, however, is the difficulty involved in precise placement of the catheter tubes, due to the anatomical variations among patients and the irregular shape of the tumor bed, and application of the correct amount of radiation to the affected area.
Dr. Lee has developed an automated contouring algorithm through which the planning tumor volume can be determined and the optimal placement and insertion of radioactive seeds can be determined to provide the most effective brachytherapy treatment. The automated planning volume algorithm is comprised of a number of sub-algorithms. The algorithm, utilizing computational geometry, numerical interpolation, and artificial intelligence techniques to manipulate the catheter coordinates, returns the planning volume in digitized and graphical forms in minutes. The algorithm is able to self-correct the numbering of the centers such that a smooth curve is defined which encompasses the affected tissue and limits incorporation of healthy tissue within the curve. This invention will allow detailed volume graphics and coordinate data to aid in developing treatment plans that maximize normal local tumor control and minimize normal tissue complications. Potential economic benefits include a reduction in costs associated with labor and treatment complications.