Promising Results for Prostate Cancer Treatment, Planning Method

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Collaboration between Actuality Medical, Dr. Irving Kaplan and Dr. Edward Holupka, shows new technique of seed tracking for low dose prostate brachytherapy

Today, Optics for Hire (OFH), disclosed the results of a two-year program to improve prostate cancer treatment using proprietary software algorithms. The methods were developed at Actuality Medical, Inc., whose assets were acquired by OFH in 2009. The research pertains to low dose rate (LDR) prostate brachytherapy, and more generally to soft-tissue surgeries such as breast lumpectomy and liver tumor ablation. A video demonstration of the results can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq5ccBZAcDw

LDR brachytherapy is a common form of early-stage prostate cancer treatment in which many radioactive “seeds” are placed in the organ with ultrasound image guidance. Proper seed placement is important to avoid over-dosing (too many seeds in the wrong places) and under-dosing (cancer remains). Because of seed migration and organ deformation accurately following a pre-operative treatment plan is very challenging especially considering poor quality of “B-mode” ultrasound imagery.

To solve this problem, Actuality Medical developed recognition software that identifies and highlights the locations of seeds in ultrasound data. The algorithms are the result of recording LDR procedures at Boston-area hospitals, checking them against intra-operative CT scans, and manually teaching a collection of proprietary algorithms.

This is the key step to enabling “dynamic adaptive therapy,” in which the cancer treatment plan is updated during the course of a procedure.

“Actuality’s engineers gathered terabytes of procedure data from the O. R. ,” says Dr. Irving Kaplan, also of BIDMC and area hospitals, “They mined this data for the mathematical signature of seeds. I am encouraged by their progress in accurately identifying seeds, and hope this technology will be commercialized.”

Dr. Edward Holupka, chief of radiation physics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA) explains, “Radiation oncologists and radiation physicists have long recognized the need for advanced technology like this. Once we know the positions of seeds, we can provide intraoperative dosimetry. This enables physicists to modify the treatment plan in order to optimize the radiation coverage.”

The patent-pending technology includes a low-cost disposable that, when attached to the outside of the ultrasound probe, enables freehand conversion of 2-D ultrasound into 3-D data This gives clinicians a clearer visualization of seed positions. The technology can dramatically improve the legibility of ultrasound data by increasing the amount of detail in each pixel’s brightness. The heart of the technology is a uniquely-trained algorithm called a support vector machine which uses multi-dimensional pattern matching to determine the location of seeds.

The methods have application in many soft-tissue surgeries. Gregg Favalora, founder of Actuality and Principal at OFH explains, “Just as the prostate changes shape during brachytherapy, the breast deforms during lumpectomy, the liver changes shape between pre-operative imaging and ablation, and the list goes on. We believe that powerful computer software is a very promising avenue to improve many soft-tissue procedures.”

FDA Disclaimer
These statements have not been reviewed or approved by the FDA. These technologies are in the developmental stage and should not be used to diagnose, cure, or prevent disease.

About OFH
Optics for Hire, the optical product development company, is a privately held firm with offices near Boston, Ukraine, and Belarus. Founded in 2002, OFH provides product development and prototyping services for clients with difficult, optics-centric requirements. OFH specializes in lens design for LED illumination, medical devices, video games, and zoom lenses; whole-product design including electronic, mechanical, and optical engineering; and computer vision software development for the entertainment industry. For more information, see http://www.opticsforhire.com .

For press and other inquiries, please contact john (at) opticsforhire (dot) com .

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