PALO ALTO, CA – August 1, 2005 – Varian Medical Systems today announced that it is experiencing robust demand for its Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) products. The company reports that it has now installed or commenced installation of more than 80 of its new On-Board Imager™ devices, a technology that enhances treatment precision.
Varian’s IGRT solution includes FDA-cleared software modules for radiographic, fluoroscopic, and cone-beam CT imaging as well as automated repositioning software.
“It’s clear that radiation oncology is rapidly embracing IGRT as a crucial aid to enhancing the accuracy, effectiveness and reach of radiotherapy,‿ said Tim Guertin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Varian Medical Systems. “IGRT is making it possible for more patients to receive advanced treatments such as IMRT and stereotactic radiotherapy and opening the door to treatment of early stage metastatic disease.‿
“We have seen this new imaging technology take off very quickly,‿ says Guertin. “The first On-Board Imager was installed at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute in Stockholm a year ago, and since then there has been an overwhelming demand that has exceeded our expectations.‿
In addition to numerous installations in North America and Europe, On-Board Imager devices have been – or are currently being – installed at leading cancer centres in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Japan. The devices can be ordered with new linear accelerators – such as Varian’s Clinac® iX or Trilogy™ machines - or they can be added to existing accelerators.
Varian’s On-Board Imager for IGRT makes it possible for clinicians to image and treat patients on a single machine that rotates around the patient to take X-ray images and deliver treatments from virtually any angle. Mounted on the medical linear accelerator, the On-Board Imager device produces high-resolution images of the tumor and tracks changes in tumor shape, size, or position due to shrinkage or shifting over a multi-week course of treatment, and due to respiration.
IGRT can improve the quality of all forms of radiotherapy, including conventional, 3-D conformal, intensity-modulated, and stereotactic radiotherapies. “Techniques like IMRT have enabled clinicians to shape the radiation beam so it conforms to the tumor being treated. IGRT makes it easier to know exactly where to aim the beams,‿ Guertin says.
Prior to the advent of IGRT, radiation oncologists had to contend with variations in patient positioning and with respiratory motion by treating a larger margin of healthy tissue around the tumor. IGRT enables doctors to further minimize the volume of healthy tissue exposed to the treatment beam. Potentially, image data from IGRT tools like the On-Board Imager device will be used to note changes in tumor size and shape over a course of treatment, and make real-time adaptations to the treatment plan.
There are more than 5,800 radiotherapy centers worldwide, and Varian equips 60 percent of these centers with its integrated and automated radiotherapy systems.