Image-Guided Radiotherapy Treatments Begin at New Regional German Cancer Hospital Using Country's First On-Board Imager | Varian

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Image-Guided Radiotherapy Treatments Begin at New Regional German Cancer Hospital Using Country's First On-Board Imager

MEMMINGEN, Germany, March 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A private radiotherapy institute in Bavaria has commenced treating cancer patients with a new, more precise form of radiotherapy using a linear accelerator and special On-Board Imager® accessory from Varian Medical Systems. The new equipment, the first of its kind in clinical operation in Germany, is being used at the private radiotherapy institute at the Klinikum Memmingen to treat breast, prostate and head/neck cancer patients with image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT).

The new imaging capability enables doctors to locate and target tumors more accurately during treatments. "This is really important because it enables us to offer more precise radiotherapy," says Dr. Andreas Rhein, senior therapist at the new institute, which was constructed last year. "It allows us to increase the dose, particularly for our prostate patients, because we are confident that we are hitting the target and minimising the affect on surrounding healthy tissue."

The On-Board Imager makes it possible for clinicians to image and treat on a single machine that rotates around the patient to take X-ray images and deliver treatments from virtually any angle. Mounted on the medical linear accelerator, the OBI device produces high-resolution X-ray images of the tumor and tracks changes in tumor shape, size or position over a multi-week course of treatment. It also allows clinicians to track and adjust for tumor motion caused by the patient's breathing during treatment sessions.

The private radiotherapy institute at the Klinikum Memmingen is offering these IGRT treatments in collaboration with nearby Klinikum Kaufbeuren, which has treated cancer patients on Varian linear accelerators for many years. Although the new Varian Clinac® 2100 high energy linear accelerator equipped with the On-Board Imager device has been located at the new center, much of the planning and preparation work is carried out at Kaufbeuren.

Doctors at Memmingen acquire radiographic and 3D cone-beam CT images at the time of treatment using the On-Board Imager and these images are compared to diagnostic images. The On-Board Imager's auto-match functionality automatically suggests changes in the patient's position to line them up more precisely with the treatment beam. Any adjustments to the patient's position can be carried out by a radiography nurse entirely from outside the treatment room, ensuring the fastest and most automated image-guided radiotherapy in the world.

Before Image-Guided Radiotherapy

Prior to the advent of image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), radiation oncologists had to contend with variations in patient positioning and with respiratory motion by treating a relatively large margin of healthy tissue around the tumor. This increased the risk of complications from the treatment and forced doctors to use lower, less effective doses in their treatments. IGRT enables doctors to minimize the volume of healthy tissue exposed to the treatment beam, giving them the option of using higher doses when the patient needs them.

Varian equips about 3,000 radiotherapy centers around the world with treatment machines, accessories and software for the most advanced forms of radiotherapy and radiosurgery. The market and technology leader in image- guided radiotherapy, Varian had more than 400 installations of its On-Board Imager complete or in progress at the beginning of the calendar year.

Radiotherapy in Germany

Clinicians at Memmingen hope other private and public cancer centers will follow their lead in offering patients more advanced treatments. "At present it is only private practices like ours that are thinking about introducing such advanced techniques because public hospitals have been under-funded for the last five years and there have been many advances in that time," says Dr. Rhein.

In most developed countries medical linear accelerators are in operation for 10-15 years. The average age of Germany's linear accelerator base is 16 years.

Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068,

  Customer contact: Dr. Andreas Rhein, Klinikum Memmingen, +49 8341 9996400.

  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 3,900 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 56 sales and support offices around the world. In Europe, the company operates manufacturing and engineering centers in Baden (Switzerland), Crawley (England), Haan (Germany), Helsinki (Finland) and Toulouse (France) and has headquarters for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEA) based in Zug, Switzerland. For more information, visit

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SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.

CONTACT: Neil Madle of Varian Medical Systems, +44-7786-526068, or; or Dr. Andreas Rhein of Klinikum Memmingen,

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