Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital has significantly advanced its cancer treatment capabilities by installing a new linear accelerator (LINAC). This state-of-the-art technology is set to revolutionize the way cancer is treated in pets, offering advanced radiation therapy that can not only prolong lives but potentially cure various cancers.

Dr. Janean Fidel, a veterinary oncologist at WSU, emphasized the transformative potential of this machine in treating a wide range of cancers, including mast cell tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, and cancers affecting the oral, nasal, and brain regions. The new LINAC stands out for its precision in targeting cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues, a critical aspect of effective cancer treatment.

The installation of this LINAC, which involved fundraising efforts since 2018 amounting to over $1 million, replaces an older model acquired in 2010. Despite serving over 3,500 animals, the previous machine was plagued with frequent malfunctions. The new LINAC is a technological leap forward, offering enhanced accuracy, speed, and safety. It boasts submillimeter targeting accuracy and high dose rate delivery, greatly improving treatment outcomes by reducing unnecessary radiation exposure to healthy tissue and shortening treatment duration.

A notable feature of the new LINAC is its onboard imaging system, allowing operators to precisely locate tumors just before treatment, ensuring accurate alignment with the radiation beam. This system is a significant upgrade over older models that relied on film for imaging, which was less efficient and offered lower image quality.

The WSU oncology team has undergone extensive training to utilize this advanced machine. Dr. Raelynn Farnsworth, the chief medical officer of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, expressed gratitude to the donors who acquired this technology. This new equipment is expected to provide exceptional cancer treatment for pets, a rare service in the region.

Reference the original article at WSU.edu/news here.

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