MAIDSTONE, England, March 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cancer patients in Kent will gain access to advanced radiotherapy treatments with the decision by the Kent Oncology Centre to acquire two fully-equipped treatment machines from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). The machines, due to be delivered to oncology departments in Maidstone and Canterbury in the spring, will mean these departments are among the first in the country to offer fast and efficient RapidArc® radiotherapy treatments.
"This is exciting news for the Kent Oncology Centre as it will be the first time image-guided and intensity-modulated radiotherapy can be offered to the nearly two million people served by the Kent Oncology Centre," says Dr. Stewart Coltart, clinical director. "These new machines will ensure we have sufficient capacity to waiting times at the current levels, while offering patients faster and more efficient treatments. Our consultants are especially excited about starting RapidArc treatments, which we feel will be a terrific additional tool in our armory."
Kent Oncology Centre currently delivers radiotherapy on five medical linear accelerators in Maidstone and two in Canterbury. The new, fully-equipped Clinac® iX accelerators with RapidArc capability, ordered in January, will bring the total at both hospitals to nine machines. In addition, an existing machine in Maidstone will also be upgraded to RapidArc capability.
RapidArc technology enables clinicians to deliver a highly-precise image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy treatment in as little as one or two revolutions of the treatment machine around the patient, much faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. Faster treatments allow for greater precision, since there is less chance of patient or tumor movement during treatment delivery and, with less time on the treatment couch, also allow for greater patient comfort. 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.
"We have not embarked on a full IMRT program to date, largely because of the additional time it takes physicists to develop the techniques and radiographers to deliver them, but RapidArc delivers IMRT-quality treatments or better in a fraction of the time," adds Dr. Coltart. "Having such state-of-the-art equipment should offer the additional benefit of making it easier to recruit and retain new physicists and radiographers."
The two oncology departments comprising the Kent Oncology Centre, which between them deliver 63,000 individual treatments to 6,500 new cancer patients each year, represent the only radiotherapy facilities to the south-east of London. As part of the overall upgrade project, the radiotherapy department at Canterbury Hospital is receiving a 2.5 million pounds Sterling refurbishment.
David Scott, Varian's UK sales director, said, "This project is immensely significant for cancer patients in Kent as they will quickly have access to RapidArc technology. More and more hospitals are selecting RapidArc as a way of delivering advanced and ultra-precise treatments without putting pressure on waiting lists."
Since its introduction in early 2008, Varian has completed more than 340 RapidArc installations globally. Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology in the Wirral became the first in England to introduce RapidArc late last year and hospitals in London and Ipswich have since followed suit. Cancer centers in Exeter, Norwich, Leicester, Stoke, and London have also installed the system and will commence treatments in the near future.
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.
SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.