Novel technology at Simmons Cancer Center can target bone or lung cancer sites in a single session
SCINTIX biology-guided radiotherapy (BgRT), delivered by the RefleXion’s X1 unit, uses a radioactive tracer that interacts with bone and lung cancer cells to produce photonic signals or emissions to precisely target diseased tissue. The X1’s positron emission tomography (PET) imager continuously constructs a map from the emissions data to allow delivery of radiation beamlets.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Radiation Oncology at Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center is among the first in the nation and the first in Texas to offer radiation treatments using a new technology that combines positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with radiotherapy to precisely treat bone and lung cancers.
SCINTIX biology-guided radiotherapy (BgRT), delivered by the RefleXion X1 unit, is an option for patients with primary and metastatic bone and lung cancers. Using a radioactive tracer that interacts with cancer cells to produce photonic signals from emissions, the system makes tumors their own worst enemy by using cancer’s acquired activity to specifically target diseased tissue.
Aurelie Garant, M.D., Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, leads the Brachytherapy Program at UT Southwestern.
“In essence, we are now able to assess the exact location of one or multiple tumors, as well as their individual biological signatures,” said Aurelie Garant, M.D., Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and member of the Simmons Cancer Center who leads the Brachytherapy Program. “Given that not all tumors are created equal, biology-guided radiotherapy provides us with the unique opportunity to target the areas that are most biologically active, while sparing normal tissues.”
Robert Timmerman, M.D., Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology and Professor of Neurological Surgery, holds the Effie Marie Cain Distinguished Chair in Cancer Therapy Research.
Approximately 430,000 people in the United States are diagnosed annually with tumors originating within or spreading to the lungs or bones. Until now, treating multiple targets has been challenging due to workflows in the way traditional radiation therapy is delivered, but SCINTIX may provide an effective way to treat multiple targets seen in PET scans.
SCINTIX’s novel technology uses each cancer’s biologic processes to determine how much radiation to deliver, even if the target moves. The X1 continuously constructs a map from emissions data to target the locations for beamlets of radiation, delivered with subsecond speed. At the same time, SCINTIX tracks tumor motion generated by internal processes such as breathing and digestion as well as movement by patients. This accurate tracking may reduce the amount of radiation to healthy cells that surround cancerous tissue.
Arnold Pompos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, is Associate Vice Chair of Strategic Initiatives and Capital Investments at UT Southwestern.
"Owing to the tumor’s continuous emission of a distinct signal at fractional-second intervals, SCINTIX possesses the advanced capability to detect these unique emissions. This innovation enables us to provide our patients with a revolutionary radiation treatment technology,” said Arnold Pompos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Associate Vice Chair of Strategic Initiatives and Capital Investments. “It is designed to precisely target and administer therapeutic radiation to the tumor, adapting in real time to its movement. This approach represents the fulfillment of a critical objective in oncological care: the ability to accurately track and effectively treat moving tumors."
“Biology-guided radiotherapy is an excellent demonstration of multiple technologies merging into one treatment modality,” said Robert Timmerman, M.D., Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology and member of the Simmons Cancer Center and the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. “This technology will likely broaden the scope of scenarios where radiotherapy may play a critical role.”
Orhan Oz, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Radiology and Chief of Nuclear Medicine at UT Southwestern, holds the Robert W. Parkey, M.D. Distinguished Professorship in Radiology and The Wechun Pak Professorship of Bone Biophysics.
Orhan Oz, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Radiology, Chief of Nuclear Medicine at UTSW, a member of the Simmons Cancer Center, and a co-investigator in the clinical trial that led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, added: “We hope life-prolonging treatments with limited levels of toxic side effects will be discovered using this platform.”
The technology received Breakthrough Device designation in 2021 from the FDA and then clearance to use the therapy for lung and bone cancer treatment in 2023. UT Southwestern, which led a study on its efficacy, was only the second institution in the country to install it.
Bin Cai, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, is Director of Advanced Physics Service at UT Southwestern.
"I believe one of the next revolutionary changes in our field lies in biology-guided radiation therapy and functional adaptation,” said Bin Cai, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Director of Advanced Physics Service, who led the deployment of SCINTIX BgRT at UT Southwestern from the technology side. “Therefore, we are committed to introducing this groundbreaking treatment strategy to the field safely, delivering high-quality solutions to our patients, effecting meaningful clinical changes for their benefit, and collectively offering a novel and powerful strategy to combat cancer.”
SCINTIX is the latest technology available at UT Southwestern’s Radiation Oncology facility. With more than a dozen advanced imaging/treatment machines in 130,000 square feet of space, UTSW offers patients a personalized experience to treat an array of cancers through artificial intelligence-assisted radiation therapy that adapts to changes in the patient’s anatomy, tumor size, and position.
The UTSW Simmons Cancer Center is one of 56 centers nationwide designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute and the only one in North Texas. It is also a member of the elite National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and ranked 19th for cancer care among over 800 cancer hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.
Dr. Oz, a member of the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research at UTSW, is also Medical Director of Nuclear Medicine at Parkland Health. He holds the Robert W. Parkey, M.D. Distinguished Professorship in Radiology and The Wechun Pak Professorship of Bone Biophysics.
Funding for the study conducted by Drs. Timmerman, Garant, Pompos, Cai, and other UTSW colleagues was provided by RefleXion Medical. Dr. Timmerman, who is also a Professor of Neurological Surgery and holds the Effie Marie Cain Distinguished Chair in Cancer Therapy Research, serves on the scientific advisory board of RefleXion. Drs. Pompos and Cai have received speaking engagement fees from RefleXion.