Tomotherapy is the delivery of intensity modulated radiation therapy using rotational delivery of a fan beam in the manner of a CT scanner. In helical tomotherapy the couch and gantry are in continuous motion akin to a helical CT scanner. Helical tomotherapy is inherently capable of acquiring CT images of the patient in treatment position and using this information for image guidance. This review documents technological advancements of the field concentrating on the conceptual beginnings through to its first clinical implementation. The history of helical tomotherapy is also a story of technology migration from academic research to a university-industrial partnership, and finally to commercialization and widespread clinical use.