PALO ALTO, Calif. and WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE: VAR) ("Varian") and IMRIS Inc. (TSX: IM) ("IMRIS") have concluded an agreement to co-develop an innovative new MR-guided radiation therapy system for use in treating a variety of cancers.
Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will develop a solution that combines IMRIS's proprietary MR imaging technology with Varian's recently introduced TrueBeam™ system, to enable the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during radiotherapy treatments for cancer. Launched in April 2010, Varian's TrueBeam system for radiotherapy and radiosurgery offers unprecedented speed and accuracy and has the ability to deliver treatments up to 50 per cent faster, with a dose delivery rate of up to double the maximum of earlier, industry-leading Varian systems.
MR is the gold standard for soft tissue imaging. By leveraging IMRIS's proprietary technology and integrating the exquisite detail of MR imaging with the extensive treatment delivery capabilities of the TrueBeam system, the two companies expect to enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
"We are seeking to augment physicians' ability to target cancerous tissue very precisely, even in areas of the body that are difficult to image," said Dow Wilson, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "Many studies have shown that increased treatment accuracy can reduce the impact on healthy tissues around a targeted tumor."
The solution will be designed to permit a high-field MRI scanner to move in and out of the radiation therapy room on demand, providing MR imaging to very precisely confirm a tumor's location prior to treatment, and again during the session as needed, all without having to move the patient from the treatment couch or transport the patient to and from another room, as would be required today. Consistent with IMRIS's systems for neurosurgery, neurovascular and cardiac applications, the radiation therapy systems are expected to be offered as multi-room configurations and include independent MR-simulation capabilities for the MR system to further enhance financial utility for hospitals.
IMRIS first began development of its MR-guided radiation therapy program in 2008 in collaboration with the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada. A state of the art IMRIS 3T MR-simulation suite was installed in 2009 at UHN's Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, a world-renowned cancer research and treatment centre. Princess Margaret Hospital ("PMH") will complement the development work by Varian and IMRIS by providing the clinical expertise and environment for building and testing the first of these systems.
Dr. David Jaffray, Head of Radiation Physics at PMH said, "There are certain clinical situations that challenge even the most advanced methods available for targeting cancer. Tightly integrating MR imaging into radiation treatment will allow us to adapt the therapy to the individual patient and will open exciting new avenues of research to further improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy."
Following successful completion of the development stage of this project, and subject to necessary regulatory approvals, the companies anticipate co-branding the new MR-guided radiation therapy suite and leveraging Varian's global presence and leadership position in the fields of radiotherapy and radiosurgery to market the new product.
"More than 10 million new cancer cases occur throughout the world each year, and in the U.S., about half of all cancer patients receive some type of radiation therapy during the course of their treatment," said David Graves, Chairman and CEO, IMRIS. "By combining IMRIS's image guided capabilities with the scale and scope of Varian's operations we have a significant opportunity to accelerate time to market and extend the benefits of MR imaging to radiation treatment rooms around the world."
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 www.varian.com.
IMRIS (TSX: IM) is a global leader in providing image guided therapy solutions. These solutions feature fully integrated surgical and interventional suites that incorporate magnetic resonance, fluoroscopy and computed tomography to deliver on demand imaging during procedures. The Company's systems serve the neurosurgical, cardiovascular and neurovascular markets and have been selected by leading medical institutions around the world. For further information visit www.imris.com.
This press release may contain or refer to forward-looking information based on current expectations. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "anticipate", "may", "expect", "believe", "prospective", "continue" or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. These statements should not be understood as guarantees of future performance or results. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements. Although such statements are based on management's reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that actual results will be consistent with such statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.
For further information, please contact:
Senior Public Relations Manager
Director Investor Relations & Corporate
Varian Medical Systems
SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.