PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ASTRO Booth # 419 -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) today announced that it has developed groundbreaking technology for faster, more precise cancer treatments using a unique form of volumetric arc therapy. Varian's new RapidArc™ radiotherapy technology* will enable clinicians to program a Varian linear accelerator to deliver more precise forms of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) up to eight times faster than is possible with conventional or helical IMRT (tomotherapy). Varian will unveil RapidArc at the 2007 meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) in Los Angeles later this week.
"RapidArc represents a major medical advance," says Dow Wilson, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "IMRT treatments that typically require at least ten minutes can be completed in less than two. More importantly, our dose distribution studies show that RapidArc can enable more conformal delivery of the treatment beam, allowing more concentrated doses on tumors while protecting more of the surrounding healthy tissues. This is a tremendous benefit for patients and doctors alike."
Varian's RapidArc quickly delivers a complete IMRT treatment in a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. This can replace more time-consuming IMRT treatment methods which require machines to make several rotations around the patient or to make repeated stops and starts to set up beam angles.
Varian researchers have found that RapidArc dose distributions can be well suited for a variety of clinical sites, including prostate and head and neck cases. "Our analysis of head and neck cancer treatments showed that RapidArc plans can conform the treatment beam more closely to the tumor shape and protect more healthy tissues including the spinal cord, brain stem, eyes, optic nerve and chiasm, parotid glands, and brain," Wilson said.
RapidArc will also make it much simpler to plan and deliver IMRT by eliminating numerous steps required for conventional treatments that use multiple beam angles. By reducing the time it takes to deliver IMRT and other highly-precise forms of radiation therapy, RapidArc has the potential to improve the quality of care and of patient comfort, while making radiation oncology a more affordable treatment. "This can reduce the treatment waiting lists in parts of the world where capacity is a limiting factor," Wilson said.
"Clinicians everywhere are rapidly adopting image-guided radiotherapy," observed Karl Otto, PhD, medical physicist at the BC Cancer Agency, whose research has contributed to the development of Varian's RapidArc product. "With RapidArc, it is likely that we will see image-guided radiotherapy sessions complete much faster than they are now, including imaging and treatment."
"Varian's goal is to reduce the time it takes for imaging and treatment to under five minutes, through technology advancements," said Wilson. "With RapidArc, we're taking a big step in this direction."
RapidArc technology utilizes a sophisticated algorithm that makes it possible to program a Varian linear accelerator to deliver a complete intensity-modulated radiation treatment in a single revolution. By varying three parameters simultaneously-the speed of rotation, the beam shaping aperture, and the dose delivery rate-doctors can create finely-shaped IMRT dose distributions that more closely match the size and shape of the tumor while sparing healthy tissues. "We have been working to develop and perfect RapidArc capability for more than five years and it is exciting to see this important technology coming to fruition," said Corey Zankowski, senior director of software systems marketing at Varian Medical Systems.
* Varian is aiming to make RapidArc available for radiation clinics in Spring 2008. As a product pending FDA 510(k) clearance, it is not yet available for sale in the United States. For more information, high resolution photos, and other news about Varian at the ASTRO meeting, visit the company's ASTRO newsroom page at this URL: http://varian.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=pageC.
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 4,500 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and approximately 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.
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 "will enable," "we can," and "can now start" 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.
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SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems
Web site: http://www.varian.com/