PALO ALTO, Calif., April 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Varian Medical Systems has introduced a 'real-time' brachytherapy treatment planning system that speeds up prostate cancer treatments and potentially reduces the time patients need to spend in hospital. The Vitesse™ 2.0 ultrasound-based treatment planning system, already evaluated and adopted by several leading cancer clinics, enables clinicians to complete two brachytherapy procedures a day on a patient rather than forcing longer hospital stays by spreading treatments over as many as three days.
Vitesse 2.0 enables clinicians to develop treatment plans which show the locations of radiation sources and dose distribution, using ultrasound images generated in the operating room rather than taking the time to move the patient to another room with a CT scanner for X-ray images.
"Previously, hospitals wishing to employ this temporary implant technique have been hampered by the difficult logistics," says William Hyatt, Varian's VP Oncology Systems Operations and Brachytherapy Products. "The implant takes an hour, the patient goes to recovery, then goes to Radiology for a CT scan, then waits for the physics staff to generate a treatment plan, and then gets the first radiation treatment. Often by then it is too late to get a second radiation dose on the same day and the patient needs to be kept in hospital overnight. With this new system, the process is simply implantation, treatment planning during recovery, then treating -- this can easily save up to two hours off the time to first treatment."
The real-time nature of Vitesse 2.0 enables clinicians to plan needle locations, monitor and adjust the positions as the needles are inserted, identify the final needle position in the patient and export the entire dataset to Varian's BrachyVision™ 3D planning system. The plan for the HDR (high dose rate) prostate procedure can then be completed and the patient treated.
Long Beach Memorial Center in California, for many years a pioneering center in prostate brachytherapy treatments, recently introduced Vitesse 2.0 into its standard HDR procedure. Anil Sharma, chief medical physicist, says, "If you have to take the patient out of the operating room for a CT scan you lose a lot of time between treatments. But with the real-time ultrasound imaging of this system, we can import all the images into our planning system right there in the operating room. The treatment plan can then be based on these images.
"It's a breakthrough in prostate brachytherapy treatments because you can give two treatments on the first day and the patient only needs to stay in hospital for one night rather than two. That means a happy patient, a happy hospital and a more cost-effective procedure."
Dr Sandra Victor, radiation oncologist at the Springfield Regional Cancer Center in Springield, Ohio, says the Vitesse 2.0 system is just what her team has needed for some time. "We have been doing a lot of HDR treatments for breast and gynaecological cancers but we have held off doing prostate because I have never felt CT is precise enough for HDR," she says. "I like Vitesse a lot because I think the ultrasound planning is more accurate than CT and because it's 'real-time' you do not have as many positioning variables, such as patient movement and tumor motion."
Dr Victor added that the center's prostate seed program would now be converted to HDR treatments. "HDR gives just about the perfect treatment for prostates and radiation oncologists like perfection," she said.
Dorin Todor, assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, said his team carried out its first HDR prostate treatment using Vitesse 2.0 in early February. "Going forward, we will use this for every prostate treatment," he says. "It's a pretty significant step forward and it will make a big difference, particularly for the patient. The whole process is faster and more streamlined using this system and anything that speeds up brachytherapy procedures has got to be a good thing."
Studies show that radiotherapy is more effective when doses are delivered more quickly.
Flexible data acquisition
Vitesse 2.0 offers two different ways of acquiring images -- the 'step in and out' technique and the new Twister™ option, which enables doctors to acquire target data by rotating the probe in longitudinal mode. For HDR prostate brachytherapy procedures, this means the ability to see the prostate volume using live ultrasound, contour the prostate and place needles, acquire ultrasound images with the needles in place, identify final needle paths and export the data via DICOM RT to the BrachyVision workstation.
"Compared to step in and out techniques, the addition of the optional Twister volume acquisition module gives the benefit of speed, vastly improved data resolution and less prostate distortion," adds William Hyatt. "It means doctors can deliver the first treatment just minutes after the implant."
About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading manufacturer of medical technology for treating cancer with radiotherapy and neurological conditions with radiosurgery. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and flat-panel digital subsystems for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,600 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 56 sales and support offices around the world. Additional information is available on the company's web site at http://www.varian.com/ .
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release regarding future business, events, plans, objectives, expectations, estimates, and other similar matters, including, but not limited to, statements using the terms "can" and "expect," constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements contained in this press release are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including, but not limited to, the risks described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed from time to time by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this press release. The Company assumes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements because of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
CONTACT: Neil Madle of Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
Web site: http://www.varian.com/