BELLINZONA, Switzerland, Dec. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A Swiss cancer clinic is among the first in the world to use a new, faster radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems to treat a child patient. A 12-year-old girl with Hodgkin's lymphoma was treated using Varian's RapidArc™ technique at the Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana (IOSI) in Bellinzona, southern Switzerland.
The girl received her targeted radiotherapy dose in less than two and a half minutes, using two continuous revolutions of the device while she lay on the treatment machine. The RapidArc treatment was considerably faster than would have been possible with conventional intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments, which are slower and more difficult for radiotherapy radiographers because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.
"Treating children with cancer is always challenging but RapidArc enables us to deliver extremely precise treatments much more quickly than would have been possible previously, making it a much more comfortable experience for the patient while minimizing damage to healthy tissue," said radiation oncologist Dr. Alessandra Franzetti-Pellanda. "Faster treatments mean there is less chance for the patient to move during delivery, which helps precision. It can also be uncomfortable lying on the couch so to be able to reduce the time of treatment while enhancing the precision is tremendously helpful." Dr. Franzetti-Pellanda worked with head medical physicist Dr. Antonella Fogliata and medical oncologist Dr. Pierluigi Brazzola to carry out the pioneering treatment.
"Lymphoma is a good candidate for radiotherapy because it's a disease that is highly responsive to radiation, even the lower doses that we use in pediatric cases," said Dr. Fogliata. "In this RapidArc treatment the bilateral lung and the lymphatic chains were treated at once using a technique called a simultaneous integrated boost and we are very pleased with the response."
Rolf Staehelin, Varian's European marketing director, adds, "This is an extraordinary achievement by the team at IOSI and it demonstrates that RapidArc can be beneficial for highly complex indications such as Hodgkin's lymphoma as well as more conventional tumor sites such as prostate and head & neck."
IOSI became the first hospital in Switzerland to commence treatments using RapidArc in November. The hospital treats 700 patients a year on two Varian Clinac® medical linear accelerators and RapidArc volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) capability has been added to one of these machines.
RapidArc technology allows more control to conform the dose more closely to the size, shape, and location of the tumor. Faster treatment also contributes to precision by reducing the time for motion within the anatomy, and laboratory studies suggest that faster dose delivery may kill some cancer cells more effectively.
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
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 4,800 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems
Web site: http://www.varian.com/