OXFORD, England, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cancer patients in southern England are to benefit from state-of-the-art radiotherapy treatments thanks to a major new oncology center due to open in 2008. Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), world leader in radiotherapy treatment equipment and software products, has been selected to equip the new unit at Oxford Churchill Hospital in one of Europe's largest PFI (private finance initiative) announcements.
As part of an initial $13 million order booked in the company's first quarter of fiscal year 2006, Varian will equip the new center with six Clinac® linear accelerators and a full suite of Varian information management and treatment planning software. All the accelerators will allow clinicians to carry out IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) to enable higher precision treatments, while two of the machines will also come equipped with Varian's robotic On-Board Imager™ device for (IGRT) image-guided radiation therapy. Oxford Churchill Hospital will be among the first centers in the UK to offer IGRT treatments for patients in addition to IMRT.
Walter Frei, head of Varian's Oncology Systems business in Europe, said the radiotherapy PFI contract covers 31 years where Varian has teamed with Impregilo Spa, of Italy, to provide the radiotherapy services. "We are delighted to be working closely with Impregilo on a long-term partnership that will bring enormous benefits to cancer sufferers in the UK," he added.
Varian has been selected as equipment supplier in several other PFI contracts -- including at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and the Plymouth Oncology Centre -- but the Oxford Churchill project is one of the largest of its kind. "This will be a magnificent facility that will help to establish a new standard of cancer care in the UK and we are proud that Varian technology and products will be part of this effort," Frei said.
Vickie Holcroft, project director for Oxford Churchill, added, "Varian was chosen to equip the new radiotherapy department because it is one of the technology leaders in this area and it has an excellent reputation for reliability."
IGRT and IMRT
IGRT, which is a major breakthrough in the ability to track organ motion and deliver treatments with higher precision, is only offered routinely at a handful of UK hospitals to date, including Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology and Ipswich Hospital. Varian's On-Board Imager device is a digital imaging accessory mounted on the medical linear accelerator, the machine which delivers the radiation treatments. It can be used to improve precision by verifying tumor locations and monitoring tumor motions at the moment of treatment. It will provide doctors with a clear indication of exactly how a tumor will move during treatment due to respiration or other repeatable physiological cycles.
Varian's IMRT technology is a ground-breaking treatment which allows conforming of the treatment beam to the shape of the tumor, thus improving accuracy while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Using this approach, clinicians can easily deliver this advanced treatment in the conventional 10-15 minute appointment time slot required for daily cancer treatments.
PFI in Action
As part of the PFI Managed Equipment Service arrangement, Varian will be responsible for equipment maintenance and replacements during the lifetime of the agreement. "It's a comprehensive long-term solution for the Trust," says Michael Sandhu, Varian's European Director of Public Private Partnerships. "In a time of rapid technological change, these contracts protect against obsolescence so that clinics can continue to offer state-of-the-art medical care.
"Good performance, reliability and effective maintenance provision rate extremely highly in PFIs. We have been particularly successful in these projects because we can offer a comprehensive array of radiotherapy equipment that addresses a broad range of clinical needs in a cost effective manner."
In addition to the initial installation of six linear accelerators, a full suite of Eclipse™ treatment planning workstations and Varian information management software, Oxford Churchill will also receive an Acuity™ imaging system with cone-beam CT capability.
About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc. of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading supplier of equipment and software for treating cancer. The company is also a premier supplier of components including X-ray tubes and flat-panel detectors for medical, scientific, and industrial imaging. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,280 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 55 sales and support offices around the world. The company operates manufacturing and engineering centers in Baden (Switzerland), Crawley (England), Haan (Germany), Helsinki (Finland) and Toulouse (France) and has headquarters for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) based in Zug, Switzerland. Additional information is available on the company's web site at http://www.varian.com/.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release regarding future business, events, plans, objectives, expectations, estimates, and other similar matters, including, but not limited to, statements using the terms "can" and "expect," constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements contained in this press release are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including, but not limited to, the risks described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed from time to time by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this press release. The Company assumes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements because of new information, future events, or otherwise.
MEDIA CONTACT: Neil Madle Varian Medical Systems +44-7786-526068
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
CONTACT: media, Neil Madle of Varian Medical Systems, +44-7786-526068
Web site: http://www.varian.com/