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Image guided therapy

Image guided therapy is when we use technology to generate clear, real-time images of your body during treatment. Image guided techniques are increasingly important in cancer treatment - in radiation therapy, surgery, and interventional radiology. Thanks to new developments in technology, we can generate faster and clearer images, which helps our specialists monitor the tumor in real-time during surgery or radiotherapy. The Netherlands Cancer Institute is a national and international pioneer in the development of image guided techniques. We aim to one day be able to monitor the tumor and its environment in terms of place, time, and function throughout the entire treatment process, so we can adapt our treatment when needed, and monitor whether all malignant cells have been adequately removed.

Treatment

We can create a three-dimensional image of the patient’s anatomy using a CT, MRI, or PET scan. This can help us determine the tumor’s exact location, size, biological properties, and environment. One type of treatment that heavily relies on image guided techniques is radiation therapy. Depending on the tumor type, location, and stage, this treatment will take anywhere between 1 to 7 weeks. In order to improve our aim when delivering external beam radiation, we regularly update our imaging. The Netherlands Cancer Institute has conducted a lot of research into image guided radiation therapy over the past 25 years. We have the latest treatment options and technology available at our hospital.

The operating room of the future

Back in 2015, the Netherlands Cancer Institute developed an operating room of the future: a special room designed for surgeries assisted by the latest technological advancements. Special 3D navigation technology allows us to monitor the exact tumor location, even tumors that developed in areas that are hard to track. This technology also helps us minimize the risk of harming the surrounding blood vessels and nerves during the removal.

The future

At the Netherlands Cancer Institute, we strive to further develop and implement this navigation technology. We are working on smart surgical tools that can detect tumor tissue through light waves, and are developing a technique that can detect whether all of the tumor tissue has been successfully removed. The Netherlands Cancer Institute aims to one day be able to track down the tumor, delineate it, remove it, and remove any remaining malignant cells in one operation. We expect to make our vision a reality within the coming years.