Varian Medical Systems and Ghent University Hospital Host First European RapidArc™ Radiotherapy Workshop | Varian

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Varian Medical Systems and Ghent University Hospital Host First European RapidArc™ Radiotherapy Workshop

Ghent, Belgium, February 27, 2009 – Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, a European pioneer in ‘rotational’ radiotherapy treatments, hosted Europe’s first RapidArc™ radiotherapy workshop to share experiences of cancer treatments using RapidArc™ technology from Varian Medical Systems.

Oncology professionals from Belgium and France took part in the event, organized by Varian in conjunction with Ghent University Hospital. “The idea of the workshop was to put together RapidArc users and potential users and to give them the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from others,” said Reynald Van der Straeten, physics application specialist with Varian. “That this event took place in Ghent, where much of the pioneering work on advances in arc therapy has occurred over recent years, made it even more valuable.”

“We are one of the sites that commenced work on rotational intensity modulated treatment techniques,” said Geert Pittomvils, physicist at Ghent University Hospital. “We recently acquired a linear accelerator with RapidArc from Varian and this is the first time we have held a meeting for people who want to use this system. The day was well attended and very worthwhile.”

RapidArc delivers a precise and efficient treatment in single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) up to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. With RapidArc, Varian’s Clinac® accelerator can target beams at a tumor while continuously rotating around the patient. Conventional IMRT treatments are slower and more difficult for radiotherapy radiographers because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.

Since the launch of RapidArc early last year, more than 70 hospitals worldwide have commenced clinical treatments, including the Leuven University Hospital in Belgium. Ghent University Hospital intends to commence RapidArc treatments in the spring.

Ghent University Hospital
Ghent University Hospital, using its own intensity modulated arc therapy planning system, has carried out such treatments on prostate and gynaecological cancer patients for several years with evidence of patient benefits in tumour control and reduced complications.

Professor Marc van Eijkeren, head of the hospital’s Department of Radiation Oncology, said the acquisition of RapidArc was intended to speed up treatments without compromising quality. “The problem is that using our own system, it takes half an hour to deliver treatments, even longer if we use image-guided radiotherapy,” he says. “Our normal radiotherapy treatment slots are ten minutes so it means we take up three slots to deliver one arc therapy treatment, placing a big strain on our busy department.”

"As more and more patients are becoming eligible for these treatments and patient referrals for arc therapy increase, we knew we needed to find a solution that allowed our patients to have these advanced treatments without causing a backlog.”

Ghent University Hospital serves more than 1.5 million people in the northern regions of Belgium.

Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068

About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit