Penn Medicine to Study Use of Virtual Reality in Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy

By News Release


Rocket VR Health is partnering with Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center to explore the use of virtual reality (VR) technology in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Rocket VR's immersive meditation program will be administered as part of a feasibility study with 25 patients prior to receiving daily treatments, utilizing the HTC VIVE Flow VR headset. The imagery and sounds experienced are designed to create an immersive environment by making use of mindfulness meditation in nature. This procedural relaxation and distraction solution aims to transform the pre-procedure wait into a calming VR meditation experience. Patients will fill out questionnaires before and after their procedures to evaluate their experience, and staff will be assessed on the ability to deploy this technology for patients undergoing radiation therapy.

"We are thrilled to be working with the talented research team at Penn Medicine as well as the HTC Vive Flow, one of the lightest and most ergonomic headsets on the market," said Nik Vassev, COO and Co-Founder of Rocket VR Health. "Our solution aims to improve the radiation therapy experience, which at times can be anxiety-provoking."

"Our study aims to demonstrate the feasibility and validity of delivering VR-enhanced meditation to reduce anticipatory anxiety experienced by patients undergoing radiation therapy with the goal to help improve patient well-being during what is certainly one of the most stressful times in their lives," said William Levin, MD, an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. "Because radiation therapy is challenging when the patient is anxious and unable to lay still, we hope to gauge how well patients can slow their breathing for a more comfortable experience."