SALT LAKE CITY, UT - October 21, 2003 - Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: VAR) today announced it is adding 3D imaging capabilities to its Acuity™ X-ray system for Dynamic Targeting™ image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). The new cone-beam CT capability of the Acuity system, now pending 510(k) clearance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will enable radiation oncologists to enhance care for cancer patients by generating superior digital images for patient positioning as well as developing, simulating, and verifying treatment plans.
"3D imaging should make it possible for clinicians to achieve better outcomes for their patients by sparing more healthy tissue, while concentrating more cancer-killing radiation within targeted tumors," said Timothy E. Guertin, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "Adding a cone-beam CT capability to our Acuity system is in keeping with our mission of putting
powerful tools for image-guided radiation therapy into clinicians' hands. Varian is committed to perpetually improving the effectiveness of radiation therapy technologies."
Using cone-beam CT imaging technology, Acuity will enable clinicians to quickly acquire quality 3D images of tumors and surrounding anatomy with a single rotation of the machine around the patient. Varian is integrating the Acuity imaging system with its software for image management and treatment planning, making it easy for doctors to rapidly review, verify, and finalize treatment plans and patient positions prior to commencing treatments. "We have designed this system to improve the quality of images and information available to the medical staff without any sacrifice in clinical workflow," said Guertin.
Varian's Acuity system, which was introduced last year, has been providing doctors with radiographic images (two-dimensional X-ray images) and fluoroscopic images (time-lapse images showing tumor motion). Doctors use these images to adjust for tumor position changes from day to day and for working out how to deal with motion during treatment. Now, with cone-beam CT capabilities added to the Acuity system, doctors have yet another resource for even finer localization of the tumor in three dimensions.
Until now radiation oncologists have had to use 2D images or 3D images from a comparatively expensive CT for treatment planning and simulation processes. "With cone-beam CT on Acuity, doctors will be able to acquire a 3D volumetric image set during simulation and match them with images acquired on conventional CT scanners," explained Karla Knott, Business Manager for simulation products. "Later, when a patient has been positioned for treatment on a linear accelerator, new images taken there can be compared with the 2D and 3D reference images from the Acuity system as well as from the treatment plan. When doctors see differences in tumor location or anatomy, they will be able to adjust the treatment plan or the patient's position."
The Acuity system with 3D imaging capability will also give radiation oncology departments more flexibility in how they plan their radiation treatments. "Typically, physicists plan external-beam radiation therapy using volumetric images generated by a conventional CT scanner," Knott explained. "However, not all radiation oncology departments have a dedicated CT scanner, and if access to the CT is an issue, clinicians can use Acuity's 3D imaging for some of their cases, depending on the type of disease or the type of treatment being planned. And they can use Acuity when a patient cannot fit into a conventional CT scanner—for instance, a patient who is immobilized on an incline board for breast treatments."
The Acuity system is also used for simulation and image-guided delivery of brachytherapy treatments. Volumetric cone-beam CT data will enhance the quality of brachytherapy treatment planning, as well as of the placement of
catheters and seeds.
The Acuity system is part of Varian's new Inspiration™ environment of seamlessly-integrated radiation oncology tools for delivering advanced, image-guided radiation therapies. The system's new cone-beam CT capabilities are on display at the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting here this week.