ST. LOUIS, May 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Glenda Lamb, 68, was finding it harder and harder to breathe. A former smoker with emphysema, she had been hospitalized with congestive heart failure when her doctor discovered a tumor growing in her right lung. Her medical team at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine here is successfully treating the tumor using a new treatment technique called image-guided stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).
"Without this option, there would not have been anything they could do," Lamb said. "I feel so lucky, because with my heart and lung conditions, I couldn't have chemotherapy or surgery."
"A patient with respiratory disease doesn't have much healthy lung to spare," explained Jeffrey Bradley, MD, associate professor of radiation oncology at Washington University School of Medicine. "This kind of situation tends to make a patient ineligible for invasive surgery to remove the tumor."
The medical team at the Siteman Cancer Center delivered the advanced treatment with a new Trilogy® treatment machine from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) of Palo Alto, CA. This unique device combines a powerful medical linear accelerator that generates a carefully shaped and focused treatment beam with high-resolution imaging technology for pinpointing the tumor so that surrounding healthy tissues are preserved.
Unlike traditional therapy which often requires six to seven weeks of daily treatments, Lamb's stereotactic body radiotherapy treatment was delivered in just three treatments. The speed of treatment was essential for Lamb, who lives over 70 miles from St. Louis and had to travel back and forth with her daughter by car and train for each treatment.
Stereotactic body radiosurgery is made possible by the three-dimensional imaging and tumor tracking capabilities of the Trilogy® system. The high-quality three-dimensional CT images generated right at the time of treatment enable doctors to accurately pinpoint the targeted tumor and attack it safely with high doses of radiation without the added risk of moving the patient. Prior to the Trilogy machine, patients often had to be immobilized, scanned in one place, moved to the treatment room, and treated -- a process that took many hours and created uncertainty because tumors can shift within the body when a patient is moved from place to place.
"With our Trilogy® machine I can set the patient up for treatment, generate CT images to verify the location of the tumor and make any needed positioning adjustments prior to treatment, all right there in one place," Bradley said. "The patient is on the table for less than half the time we would have needed with our earlier protocols, before we had the Trilogy machine."
Lamb's first post-treatment check up revealed that her tumor is shrinking nicely, although it will be several more months before Bradley knows if he eradicated it. "She tolerated the treatment extremely well -- didn't miss a beat," Bradley said. "We'll do follow-up CT scans every three months for the next two years and every six months thereafter, to monitor her condition."
Radiation oncologists at the Siteman Cancer Center are also using their Trilogy system to treat brain, head and neck, and gynecological cancer cases -- "just about anything that we feel needs a daily localization with either radiographic, fluoroscopic, or cone-beam CT imaging," Bradley commented, referring to the three distinct imaging modes available with a Trilogy to generate 2-D, 3-D, and moving images that show tumor motion.
Because the Siteman Cancer Center is a tertiary referral center for the region, it receives referrals for patients who live as much as 300 miles away. "Having state-of-the-art treatments that can be delivered quickly, in just a few days, without any compromise in the quality of care, is very important for our center," Bradley said.
The American Cancer Society estimates that there are approximately 210,000 new cases of lung cancer in the U.S. each year. For those whose tumors are found to be inoperable, stereotactic body radiosurgery on a Trilogy machine may offer a viable treatment option.
ABOUT ALVIN J. SITEMAN CANCER CENTER AT BARNES-JEWISH HOSPITAL
The Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital is an international leader in cancer treatment, research, prevention, education and community outreach. It is the only cancer center in Missouri and within a 240-mile radius of St. Louis to hold the prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute and membership in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Parent institutions Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine also are nationally recognized, with U.S. News & World Report consistently ranking the hospital in the top 10 and the medical school in the top five, providing advanced patient care and serving the community through outreach and education programs.
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. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/ .
Statements in this press release regarding future business, events, plans, objectives, expectations, estimates, and other similar matters, including, but not limited to, statements using the terms "can" and "will" constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements contained in this press release are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including, but not limited to, the risks described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed from time to time by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this press release. The Company assumes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements because of new information, future events, or otherwise.
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: Siteman Cancer Center Jason Merrill, 314-286-0302 firstname.lastname@example.org Varian Medical Systems Meryl Ginsberg, 650-424-6444 email@example.com
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.varian.com/