Ringling College of Art and Design and Moffitt Cancer Center have partnered on a project called "INDEX Virtual Reality" to enhance the cancer patient experience and improve the accuracy of MRI-guided radiation therapy. The Moffitt/Ringling College partnership began in 2019 to explore the creation of meaningful digital technologies to help decrease stress and enhance understanding for newly diagnosed patients, and discover new ways in which to train and coach patients through diagnosis and treatment.
As the patient breathes in and out during MRI radiation therapy, a tumor and surrounding healthy tissues can shift in position, so it’s important to encourage patients to hold their breath during the beam activity. To make the technology applicable to all, especially patients unfamiliar with virtual reality, Moffitt and Ringling gamified the process so that one controller is fastened to their chests to monitor breathing, and the patient uses the headset laser to select menu options to explore the mechanics and train in the breathing game. While undergoing treatment they are also able to choose from calming scenarios to assist in relaxation during the breath-holding period.