DORTMUND, Germany, Feb. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A 65-year-old German man has become one of the first lung cancer patients in Europe to be treated with radiation therapy that is delivered in timed bursts to take account of tumor movement caused by breathing. His 'respiratory gated' treatment has been carried out at the Klinikum Cancer Center in Dortmund using a unique Varian Medical Systems monitoring system that tracks and co-ordinates treatment delivery with patients' natural breathing patterns.
Using the Varian RPM™ Respiratory Gating system, doctors at Klinikum have been able to improve the treatment by boosting doses for the patient while sparing more of the healthy tissue surrounding his lung tumor. This approach enabled doctors to concentrate more dose on the tumor while reducing exposure of the surrounding healthy tissue by up to 22%.
"There's no doubt that this approach enables you to better protect normal tissue, increase patient comfort and have fewer side effects," said Dr Oliver Waletzko, head of radiation oncology at Klinikum. "Because of this, we can safely boost doses to the tumor and have more effective treatments, all within a standard treatment time." Respiratory gating is used regularly for left-sided breast cancer patients who have previously received cardiotoxic chemotherapy as a method of reducing the volume of the heart exposed to radiation, but it is much rarer for lung patients.
Unlike an active breath-hold technique -- where the patient is forced to hold his or her breath during treatment -- Varian's RPM system offers faster and more comfortable treatments by making it possible to deliver bursts of radiation that coincide with a patient's natural breathing cycle. It is well suited for lung cancer patients who often have great difficulty in holding their breath, even for short periods. "Patients should just lie down and breathe normally," says Dr Waletzko. "Frankly, we want them to think about anything except breathing, so we don't coach them."
Dr Ralf Rohn, chief of the radiotherapy center at Klinikum, said, "There's no doubt that lung cancer patients can benefit from respiratory gating, particularly if their tumor is towards the base of the lung. Although we're in the early stages of treating lung patients with gating, the early signs are very positive."
Dr Rohn said high quality X-ray images are vital for effective treatments. Doctors at Klinikum use a Varian Acuity™ simulation system to set up the patient for treatment and a 4D 8-slice GE scanner for imaging. The clinic has just acquired only the second 64-slice scanner in Germany and will soon upgrade it to become among the first 4D 64-slice scanners in the world. This will enable them to further boost doses and extend their gating program to include abdominal tumors.
Dr Andreas Block, head of Medical Physics, said the 65-year-old retired electrical engineer from Dortmund, a lifelong non-smoker, was selected for gated radiotherapy because of his overall condition and attitude. "He is very positive and in very good shape," said Dr Block, "which made him an ideal candidate for these treatments."
"I understand that I'm privileged to receive this special treatment," said the patient. "The treatments have been very comfortable so far and I have not noticed any side effects. It was important for me to find out from the doctors at Dortmund that something can be done to treat my cancer."
RPM Respiratory Gating
Varian is the only company to offer respiratory gating that follows a patient's natural breathing pattern. The RPM system works by placing a marker box on the patient's torso and monitoring respiration using cameras positioned in the treatment room. Extremely accurate gating is enabled by proprietary design features on the Clinac® linear accelerator along with Varian's high-speed digital control system which can provide beam-on times of less than 100 millisecond bursts.
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068 About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE: VAR) 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, India and Africa (EMEA) based in Zug, Switzerland. Additional information is available on the company's web site at http://www.varian.com/
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SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
CONTACT: Neil Madle of Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
Web site: http://www.varian.com/