When radiation therapy technology specialist Leo Cancer Care needed help bringing its new upright radiotherapy system, Eve, to market it engaged electrical component specialist REO to provide it with medical-grade isolation transformers.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of global deaths each year, second only to cardiovascular disease. Along with surgery and chemotherapy, radiation therapy is one of the main three techniques used to treat cancer. However, current radiotherapy treatment methods are not without their limitations, such as requiring patients to remain lying down on a hard flat table for prolonged periods of time. Air Core Inductor
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is responsible for approximately 30% of global deaths each year. This means developing new treatment methods is critical. Radiotherapy is a common treatment method for cancer patients and involves using radiation, usually x-rays, to kill cancerous cells. Depending on the type and progression of the cancer, radiotherapy will be used in isolation or in combination with other treatment methods like chemotherapy.
Current radiation therapy treatments involve patients being treated while lying down on the treatment system. However, evidence suggests when we lie patients down then gravity works against us, causing more motion. Furthermore, it can cause stress and discomfort for patients.
Leo Cancer Care has developed a new radiotherapy system that, for the first time, shifts how the therapy works, from machine rotation around a supine patient to patient rotation in an upright position.
The device, which provides movement in six degrees of freedom, allows patients to be taken from a perched position down to a deep-seated position, as it can be lowered and raised with corresponding angle adjustments. It also features heel and shin supports to provide a platform for supporting patients undergoing treatment. However, as the Eve system will be a new addition to the radiotherapy market, Leo had to ensure compliance with relevant medical standards.
“The Eve patient positioning system aims to improve on existing radiotherapy approaches by allowing the patient to be treated in an upright position, which indicates increased lung capacity and reduced organ movement,” explained Randal Boyd, principal electronics engineer at Leo Cancer Care. “Furthermore, it has general wellbeing and comfort benefits for patients, putting their needs at the heart of radiotherapy treatments moving forwards. However, as our system is new to the market, we had to demonstrate compliance with key industry safety regulations like EN 60601.”
Initially, the team at Leo Cancer Care explored the possibility of developing its own electrical components, such as medical isolation transformers. However, it quickly became apparent that this would only complicate and lengthen certification processes as it would need to establish EN 60601 compliance for each individual component as well as the final Eve system itself.
“We engaged REO to supply us with medical isolation transformers for the Eve system. We went to them as we realised it was more straightforward from a regulatory compliance perspective to use a product that is already certified than developing our own transformer and getting it certified,” continued Boyd.
Medical isolation transformers provide a power supply that is isolated from the mains, meaning that all equipment fed from them can be bonded to a common earth point. These specialist medical-grade transformers are designed to minimise capacitive coupling between the primary and secondary windings and to incorporate an earthed inter-winding screen. These features provide a useful degree of attenuation for EMI over a broad range of frequencies.
REO supplied Leo Cancer Care with REOMED1000 medical isolation transformers that comply with EN 60601 requirements, helping expedite the product certification process and bring it to market.
“In a normal power system, the neutral and earth are connected at the distribution transformer, which creates the possibility for an electrical shock current,” explained Steve Hughes, managing director of REO UK. “The medical-grade isolation transformers we supplied to Leo comply with the medical device directive, EN 60601. They work by disconnecting the earth and neutral, so there is no chance of shock without physically touching both the live and neutral connections. Even touching the live alone will not cause a shock.
“Our REOMED range of medical isolation transformers limit the leakage current and thus help to ensure the safety of the operator and patient. The transformers are characterised by a very low magnetic stray field and a high level of safety. Depending on the model, they can be equipped with electronic switch-on damping, overvoltage protection and a line filter,” concluded Hughes.
“REO was very helpful as it took problems off my hands and provided honest, upfront advice that helped expedite project completion,” added Boyd. “For example, its team shared advice on installation in terms of opting for a mounted rack system and provides ongoing support. Furthermore, it was honest about any aspects of the wider project it couldn’t help with and pointed us in the right direction in terms of who to speak to.”
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