Varian Medical Systems Announces Acuity™ -- A New Product For Ultra-Precise Targeting Of Cancer | Varian

Varian Medical Systems Announces Acuity™ -- A New Product For Ultra-Precise Targeting Of Cancer

PALO ALTO, CA — October 16, 2002 — Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: VAR) today announced that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Acuity™, a new medical imaging product that for the first time integrates planning, simulation, and verification software for treating cancer with radiation therapy.  The new product is intended to accelerate adoption of IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy), an advanced technique for treating cancer.  It is uniquely designed to support ultra-precise radiotherapy by dynamically tracking tumor motion during the simulation and verification process.

“The integration of planning, simulation, and verification in one product is a major step forward in the evolution of radiotherapy,” said Tim Guertin, president of Varian’s Oncology Systems business.  “It will make the implementation of modern radiation therapy treatments simpler, cheaper, and faster for cancer treatment centers.  It will improve both the efficiency and efficacy of advanced and routine treatments, and will allow clinics to treat more patients in less time.”  Until now, many clinics have had to use their linear accelerators for the 30- to 45-minute process of starting new patients with set-up and treatment plan verification.  The Acuity product can free the linear accelerator to be used exclusively for treatment delivery.

“With Acuity, we’re fully integrating all aspects of patient set-up for even the most complex radiotherapy treatments,” said Guertin.  The new product is tightly integrated with Varian’s VARiS® Vision™ data management system and with Eclipse™ treatment planning to streamline radiation oncology department workflow.  It also works with radiotherapy products from many other vendors through an open architecture design and utilization of the DICOM RT standard. 

Simulation and Verification

Simulation and verification are essential steps in radiotherapy, particularly with IMRT.  Clinicians begin the treatment process by acquiring detailed diagnostic images of a patient’s tumor and surrounding anatomy.  These images are used within sophisticated treatment planning software to generate plans that specify how the linear accelerator will deliver the prescribed radiation dose to tumors while minimizing dose to surrounding healthy tissues.  Since radiotherapy requires great precision, simulation and verification processes are used to ensure that treatment plans will achieve the intended results.  The Acuity product enables clinicians to fine-tune or update treatment plans by generating high-quality anatomical images of patients in their treatment positions.  These images are used for comparisons with treatment plan reference images so that clinicians can quickly see and make necessary adjustments.

Dynamic Motion Analysis Tools

The new Acuity product is also the first planning/simulation/verification product to incorporate motion analysis tools.  Doctors use these tools to see how tumors move as patients breathe and then adjust treatments to account for the motion.  With the help of Acuity, clinics can modify plans by repositioning patients, changing treatment margins around the tumor, or by using respiratory gating to administer radiation only during specified parts of the breathing cycle.  The Acuity system incorporates Varian’s RPM™ Respiratory Gating technology so doctors can collect and use respiration motion data when fine-tuning treatment plans.

Amorphous Silicion Imaging

The Acuity imaging system pairs a high-resolution x-ray tube and amorphous-silicon flat panel image detector from Varian to instantly produce and display high-resolution, distortion-free radiographic and fluoroscopic digital images on a computer workstation.  This will speed the simulation and verification process by eliminating the need for time-consuming film processing or by providing increased flexibility in positioning patients as compared with traditionally used, bulky image intensifier tubes.  “This is the first simulation product that uses our amorphous silicon technology,” said Guertin.

Brachytherapy Applications

The Acuity product is also uniquely adapted for simulating and supporting delivery of image-guided brachytherapy treatments.  “The system’s distortion-free, digital fluoroscopic images are ideal for visualizing anatomy during the placement of catheters and seeds,” Guertin said.  It is fully integrated with Varian’s BrachyVision™ treatment planning software, enabling doctors to place catheters in the area of the tumor, take an x-ray image, generate a plan, and then deliver treatment on the spot, without having to move the patient.

Note to editors: high-resolution photographs available.  Please call Meryl Ginsberg at 650-424-6444.