AUSTIN, Texas, July 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Three teams of medical physicists are slated to make presentations about knowledge-based treatment planning software at the 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) meeting this year. These presenters were involved as consultants or evaluators during the development of RapidPlan™ treatment planning software, introduced by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) last September to enhance quality, consistency, and efficiency in radiotherapy treatment planning.
Treatment planning for radiotherapy and radiosurgery involves the use of sophisticated computer algorithms that combine anatomical images of the patient along with information about the doctor's goals for tumor coverage and normal tissue sparing, to generate a set of electronic treatment instructions. These instructions "tell" the treatment delivery system how much dose to deliver, from which angles, and how to shape and modulate the beam to arrive at the desired dose distribution.
A team from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri will demonstrate how tools like RapidPlan make it possible to extract knowledge from past clinical experience and use it to generate mathematical models that expedite the creation of new treatment plans. The mathematical knowledge models greatly reduce the need for current time-consuming, manual trial-and-error processes by providing treatment planners with goals that are achievable for a specific patient's anatomy.
"Using these types of tools has the potential to help reduce variability in treatment planning," said Yves Archambault, Varian product manager. "The idea is to achieve greater quality and consistency, more efficiently."
A team from CancerCare Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, will present on the viability of using RapidPlan software to create quality treatment plans for head and neck cancer.
The Manitoba team 'trained' the software using a historical database that covered a broad spectrum of head and neck cancer cases normally found in a clinic, according to Archambault.
"They found that this approach results in a robust head and neck planning model that can be used for a wide range of clinical cases," he said.
"Knowledge-based planning was able to predict the amount of dose that would have impacted the surrounding organs in a wide range of head and neck cancer clinical cases," said Jorge Alpuche, medical physicist from CancerCare Manitoba and one of the presenters at the AAPM meeting. "This can potentially reduce the time and effort needed to plan head and neck cases in our clinic without compromising the quality of radiation therapy treatments."
"We are gratified to see all of the interest in solutions that promise to make high quality radiotherapy and radiosurgery more widely available to cancer patients around the world," said Kolleen Kennedy, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "Varian is focused on creating data-driven solutions that leverage advanced informatics, big data, and software development to help clinicians deliver high-quality, evidence-based care for their patients."
Important Information: RapidPlan knowledge-based planning and its models are not intended to replace clinical decisions, provide medical advice or endorse any particular radiation plan or treatment procedure. The patient's medical professionals are solely responsible for and must rely on their professional clinical judgment when deciding how to plan and provide radiation therapy.
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, 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, digital detectors, and image processing software and workstations for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies high-energy X-ray devices for cargo screening and non-destructive testing applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 6,500 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and China and approximately 70 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com or follow us on Twitter.
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SOURCE Varian Medical Systems