Ipswich, England, March 24th 2010 – One of the first hospitals in England to introduce intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments has now carried out its first procedure using fast and efficient RapidArc® image-guided IMRT from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). Ipswich Hospital carried out the pioneering treatment on a 66-year-old male tongue cancer patient from Suffolk, delivering the treatment many times faster than would have been possible using conventional treatments.
“The procedure went extremely well and the patient has commented on the speed of delivery compared to the IMRT plan he started his treatment with,” says Ros Perry, senior on-treatment radiographer. “He certainly noticed how much less time he needed to lie on the couch.”
Instead of the nine-field IMRT procedure originally delivered, the patient received his RapidArc radiotherapy treatment in two rotations of the treatment machine, taking just over two minutes. Previous treatments had taken four times as long.
“RapidArc will hugely improve the treatment experience for head and neck cancer patients because of this significant reduction in delivery time,” adds Hayley James, operational head of radiotherapy physics. “The other major advantage is the reduction in delivered monitor units which leads to a reduction in whole body effective dose to the patient.”
RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. As well as making treatment a more comfortable experience for patients, faster delivery reduces the chance and extent of patient motion during treatment and enables more precise dose distribution while helping to protect nearby healthy tissue and critical organs. Since its introduction, Varian has installed more than 340 RapidArc systems in cancer centers globally.
Ipswich Hospital began pioneering work in delivering Varian’s IMRT for patients in 2001 and now uses it routinely for all large volume head & neck cancer cases, thereby optimizing the delivery of the radiation to the tumor and limiting the exposure of surrounding healthy tissue. RapidArc takes IMRT to the next level by delivering such treatments continuously rather than the ‘step and shoot’ approach of fixed beam treatments.
“We are a busy hospital and we are under constant strain to deliver advanced IMRT treatments within our standard treatments slots,” says Andy Poynter, head of radiotherapy physics at Ipswich Hospital. “With RapidArc, that will no longer be a problem as we will be able to offer advanced treatments to more patients.” He said they intend to begin treating all head and neck cancer patients with RapidArc IMRT and then expand it to include prostate and pelvic node treatments.
"Ipswich Hospital was one of the UK pioneers when they introduced high resolution sliding window IMRT into routine clinical use with a completely integrated Varian solution in 2001,” says David Scott, Varian’s UK Sales Director. “It’s excellent to see the same dedicated team repeating this with RapidArc and ensuring that Ipswich Hospital continues to be at the forefront of advanced radiotherapy delivery.”
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 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China, and Europe and in its 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.