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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Advanced Technology Enhances Cancer-Fighting Treatment for Veterans

November 18, 2010

Radiation Therapist Aimee Boyd 

Radiation Therapist Aimee Boyd, R.T.T. prepares Navy Veteran Raymond Williams for a diagnostic scan using the new Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography Simulator at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. PHOTO: Bobbi Gruner, Public Affairs

HOUSTON - The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center recently enhanced its radiation therapy program by introducing the Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography (CT) Simulator. The latest investment in cancer-fighting equipment, this machine provides the most advanced imaging technology available today to assist in proper positioning and planning of radiation therapy treatments.

Replacing a single-slice CT simulator, this multi-slice CT provides four-dimensional simulation and image-guided radiation therapy planning. This machine has a large bore opening of almost three feet that maximizes patient comfort. It allows for accurate, reproducible patient set-up often reducing simulation time to less than 30 minutes.

"This advanced planning tool significantly improves the accuracy of radiation treatment and allows us to give an increased radiation dose to the tumor while reducing the radiation dose to surrounding normal tissue," says P. G. Shankar Giri M.D., F.A.C.R., F.A.S.T.R.O, Radiotherapy Section chief. "We are proud to bring this new technology to our Veterans."

Using this new CT imaging technology for planning and delivering radiation, a person is positioned in exactly the same way for each daily treatment, aiding in precise focus of radiation to the affected area. Additionally the system enables three-dimensional visualization of tumors and surrounding tissue to provide the most accurate and efficient treatment.

Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat many types of cancers including that of the breast, prostate, lung, head, and neck.

"The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is proud to be known for providing our Veterans with the latest and most advanced medical technology," said Meena Vij, M.D., Diagnostic and Therapeutic Care Line executive. "The Wide Bore CT Simulator is an exciting innovation which has the power to save lives."

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Awarded the Robert W. Carey Organizational Excellence Award in 2005, the Robert W. Carey Circle of Excellence Quality Award in 2007, and re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 120,000 veterans in southeast Texas. Veterans from around the country are referred to the MEDVAMC for specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery, and medical treatment including cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases. The MEDVAMC is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; a Network Polytrauma Center; an award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; a Liver Transplant Center; a VA Epilepsy Center of Excellence; a Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; a VA Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; and one of the VA’s six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Lufkin, Galveston, and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged almost one million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2009. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit