Head & Neck Cancer Patient in Switzerland Becomes World’s First UNIQUE Radiotherapy Patient | Varian

Head & Neck Cancer Patient in Switzerland Becomes World’s First UNIQUE Radiotherapy Patient

Bellinzona, Switzerland, June 18th 2010 – A 55-year-old female head & neck cancer patient has become the first person in the world to be treated clinically using a new, advanced radiotherapy delivery device from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR).   Clinicians in Switzerland carried out the treatment this week using a UNIQUE™ single energy medical linear accelerator to deliver fast and precise RapidArc® radiotherapy, the leading solution for arc-based treatments.

The treatment took place at the Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana (IOSI) radiation oncology unit here in Bellinzona, a public comprehensive cancer center serving 330,000 inhabitants in southern Switzerland, and part of Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale at San Giovanni Hospital. Varian’s new UNIQUE treatment unit, a cost effective single energy (6 MV) system with the ability to deliver advanced treatments such as RapidArc, has been introduced by Varian to help bring advanced cancer care to more patients. “The UNIQUE system is an important asset in the clinical portfolio of the center in order to offer the best level of cancer care to all patients in the region,” says Dr. Michele Morisoli, Director of San Giovanni hospital.

“UNIQUE is a very capable machine that will enable us to treat most of our patients with a very advanced technique,” says Dr. Antonella Fogliata, head medical physicist at IOSI. “RapidArc offers our patients a high standard of treatment delivery and less time spent on the treatment couch, which helps to keep discomfort to a minimum. On the technical side we are really pleased with the performance and stability of the new system and its straightforward and fast commissioning.”

Dr. Antonella Richetti, head of the radiation oncology unit, says IOSI also delivers RapidArc treatment using a Varian Clinac® iX high-energy linear accelerator but the arrival of UNIQUE would enable RapidArc to represent 80 percent of all treatments in the department and take the place of the center’s current conventional intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) program.

“The majority of treatments that were previously delivered using IMRT will now be delivered using RapidArc volumetric arc therapy,” says Dr. Richetti. “The UNIQUE accelerator will mostly be used for head & neck, brain and breast treatments. It replaces an ageing low energy accelerator and to be able to replace a fairly limited system with something as advanced as UNIQUE represents a very useful new weapon in our fight against cancer.” 

UNIQUE incorporates Varian’s proven technologies for reliable and consistent dose control, delivery, and beam shaping, into an elegant machine with a patient-friendly design, which is small enough to fit into almost all existing treatment bunkers.  The system is ideally equipped for treating cancers of the head and neck, breast, cervix and prostate, which make up the majority of cases in most areas of the world.

“With the two UNIQUE configurations we are offering – UNIQUE Power Edition and UNIQUE Performance Edition - we add high-tech image-guidance and optional arc therapy tools to a low energy platform together with our treatment planning and information management software so that technology for fast, state-of-the-art cancer treatments can be made available to treatment centers at a cost of between $1 million and $2 million,” says Peter Vereecke, UNIQUE product manager. “By making UNIQUE available with advanced capabilities developed for our high-energy platforms, we hope to help more clinicians around the world to offer higher standards of care for all of their patients.”

UNIQUE is not for sale in the U.S., Canada, or Japan.

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 5,000 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and China and approximately 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com.