PALO ALTO, CA. January 26, 2004 Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: VAR) today announced the release of a new "ring and tandem" applicator for treating cervical and uterine cancer with high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy, a process for delivering high-intensity radiation directly into tumor sites. The new "ring and tandem" applicator is made of titanium, and designed for greater patient comfort.
"The new titanium applicators are small and stable," said Tim Clark, product manager for Varian's BrachyTherapy business. "This means they can be used more easily, often without the added cost and inconvenience of general anesthesia, which is often required with larger-diameter applicators made of other materials. Since most protocols for treating gynecological cancer with HDR brachytherapy involve three to five treatments over a one to two-week period, this is an important feature."
Varian's new ring and tandem applicator, the first of its kind to be fashioned from titanium, is fully compatible with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging systems. "With the ability to scan this applicator using either CT or MR, physicians can choose the best modality for checking applicator placement and ensuring that the dose distribution will be optimal for each patient," Clark said.
The new ring and tandem applicator is the first such instrument Varian has released for use with both its VariSource and GammaMed models of HDR brachytherapy afterloaders, which are machines that deliver radioactive isotopes to specific locations within an applicator during treatment. Varian Medical Systems currently offers over fifty applicator products for the GammaMed and VariSource brachytherapy systems. These applicators can be used to treat a wide range of cancers, including cancer of the vagina, cervix,
endometrium, bronchus, esophagus, nasopharynx, and prostate.
Worldwide, each year more than 600,000 women develop some form of gynecological cancer, according to the World Health Organization.