Tromsø, Norway, December 8th 2005 – The most northerly radiotherapy unit in the world is to undergo a major expansion with new equipment and software from Varian Medical Systems. The University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsø – 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle – is to offer cancer patients the latest in state-of-the-art new radiotherapy treatments.
Two newly purchased Clinac® iX linear accelerators will replace old Varian accelerators that have been working at the hospital since it opened in 1991. When these new machines are added to two further Varian accelerators on site, the hospital will have a total of four treatment machines. A third new linear accelerator will be situated at a satellite site in Bodø, to the south of Tromsø.
“Once the new machines are clinical, we will be able have a free-flow of patients between all four linear accelerators,‿ says chief radiotherapist Petter Petterson. “We are a busy unit and treat over thirty patients a day on each machine and the crucial thing is for us to be able to introduce more targeted treatments without interrupting the normal flow of patient treatments.‿
He said the new linear accelerators would be equipped with 120-leaf multileaf collimators and the two existing accelerators would be upgraded to match. The hospital currently delivers conformal radiotherapy but the 120-leaf collimators will enable them to be even more targeted in their treatments with the introduction of IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy).
Varian’s SmartBeam™ IMRT technology is a ground-breaking treatment which improves accuracy while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Using SmartBeam, clinicians can easily deliver this advanced treatment in the conventional 10-15 minute appointment time slot required for daily cancer treatments.
In addition to the new linear accelerators, University Hospital of North Norway is also adopting Varian’s information management system and Eclipse™ treatment planning software to form a fully integrated and automated radiotherapy solution, from treatment planning to delivery. Clinicians at Tromsø also do patient set-ups using Varian’s Acuity™ planning and simulation system.
The University Hospital of North Norway serves half a million people in a region almost the size of the British Isles. About two-thirds of all cancer treatments at the hospital involve radiotherapy. “A wide range of cancers are treated here but you see some trends that are peculiar to this area,‿ says Dr Jan Norum, head of oncology, “particularly the high rates of lung cancer due to the high number of local fishermen who smoke.‿ He said there are also many gastric cancers thanks to the conservation of foods in salt and the liking for smoked meat.
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 centres 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 www.varian.com.
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