PALO ALTO, Calif., July 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) is introducing a new version of its Eclipse™ radiotherapy treatment planning software that substantially speeds up the process of planning complex radiotherapy treatments. The release incorporates new planning protocols and easy-to-use optimization tools that make it easier and faster to plan sophisticated cancer treatments like intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT).
"We've taken the market's most comprehensive treatment planning program and made it much faster, which is essential for clinics launching IGRT programs," says Dow Wilson, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "To make IGRT clinically feasible on a wide scale, doctors must be enabled to create high-quality treatment plans, optimized for each patient on the basis of 3-D image data, very quickly."
Plan Templates Can Be Personalized for Each Patient
The new Eclipse release incorporates a set of treatment plan templates that streamline the process of creating a personalized plan for each patient. Rather than building a plan from scratch, doctors can adjust their own previously established treatment protocols for specific types of cancer.
"We start with the physician's intent," explains Jeff Amacker, business manager for treatment planning products. "For example, a doctor might choose a particular IMRT treatment for a medium-weight prostate cancer patient. The software preloads many of the relevant parameters -- the treatment fields to be used, the angles of those fields, even the IMRT dose volume constraints." Eclipse can then be used to turn the chosen protocol into an individualized treatment plan through an optimization process based on the patient's diagnostic images and the physician's dose prescriptions.
Faster AAA Dose Calculation Algorithm
Varian's "AAA" dose calculation algorithm, which more accurately calculates radiation dose distributions in heterogeneous areas of the body such as the lung, has also been updated.
"This new version is four times faster than the previous version," Amacker said. "We have also added a new set of beam configuration tools that physicists can use to configure the "AAA" algorithm to work with more different types of treatment machines."
Faster Tools for Contouring, Plan and Beam Optimization
Eclipse now also incorporates a new automated segmentation tool that speeds up contouring, the process by which doctors separate diseased tissues from surrounding healthy organs on a set of three-dimensional diagnostic images. This enables them to specify exactly where radiation dose levels are to be concentrated, and which areas are to be protected. "With our new structure-specific automatic segmentation tool, users can contour a structure such as the lung or the spinal cord with one click of the mouse," Amacker said.
One plan optimization tool has been enhanced with an easy-to-use graphical interface that helps the user specify exactly how the radiation dose should be limited outside the contoured area. And a new tool automates beam angle optimization. "The doctor will have selected a protocol-for example, a seven-field IMRT head and neck treatment. The beam optimization tool can be used to automatically select the best beam angles for delivering that treatment to the particular patient," Amacker explained.
Another new Eclipse feature, "Remote Connect," enables clinicians to use a virtual private network (VPN) and high-speed Internet connection to access their treatment planning systems remotely. "The idea was to enable our customers to plan any time, anywhere," Amacker said. "Remote Connect" is a subscription-based service that will be invaluable to doctors who treat patients at more than one facility, or who work out of multiple offices.
Facilitating Adoption of IGRT and Adaptive Radiotherapies
"These new tools are essential for the rapid adoption of image-guided and adaptive approaches to radiotherapy," says Wilson. "Today, image-guidance is being used to reposition patients for more precise treatment, and also to adapt treatment for tumor motion due to respiration. Our goal is to enable clinicians to use image data obtained at the time of each treatment to modify and fine-tune the treatment plan going forward, as the patient's tumor responds to treatment. These enhancements represent important steps in that direction."
The new Eclipse capabilities will be on display from July 24 -27, 2005, at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) meeting in Seattle, Washington.
About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems, which are treating thousands of patients per day. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and flat-panel digital subsystems for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,280 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 56 sales and support offices around the world. Additional information is available on the company's web site at http://www.varian.com/
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SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.varian.com/