When Medicine Goes High Tech

Linking Medical Imaging with Technology

January 28, 2015

Ten years ago, radiation planning, treatment and post-treatment monitoring was very different than it is today. A patient would walk into the Department of Radiation Oncology at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University carrying all of their previous scans – which might include PET (positron emission tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomography) scans – and there was no easy way for the doctors to organize and analyze the patient’s response to therapy. It was virtually impossible to relate the patient’s outcomes to the treatment delivered.

To find a solution, in 2004 Radiation Oncologist Ian Crocker, MD, professor and vice chair in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Winship Cancer Institute, joined forces with the Director of Medical Physics, Tim Fox, PhD, and software engineer Paul Pantalone to form Velocity Medical Solutions. The product they developed revolutionized how doctors use patient scans and treatment information in planning and assessing the response to treatment. This software is now used routinely at Emory and in the majority of the top 50 cancer centers in the United States. (Read more.)

Today, a patient can bring in all their past x-rays, taken from any angle with any technology, and doctors can use these images to create a patient’s imaging history. With images now registered together, doctors can more easily understand a patient’s response to treatment.

Says Crocker, “Today, the way we use patient scans in our clinics is remarkably better. It is innovation like this that separates Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute from other centers and helps us personalize treatment for our patients.”

Dr. Crocker, and Velocity’s 2014 acquisition by Varian Medical Systems, was recognized with a “Significant Event of 2014” award from Emory's Office of Technology Transfer at their Annual Celebration of Technology and Innovation on March 4, 2015. Velocity also received a “Deals of the Year” award from Georgia Bio at their Annual Awards Dinner in January.