AMSTERDAM -- June 7, 2004 -- Three new treatment suites equipped entirely with radiation therapy solutions from Varian Medical Systems have opened to the public at one of the Netherlands’ leading cancer centres.
Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre (VUMC) in Amsterdam, one of the earliest integrated Varian Medical Systems sites in Europe, has upgraded from three to five Varian Clinac linear accelerators as part of the high-profile project. The new radiotherapy suite was officially opened by the Director General of the Dutch Department of Health, Martijn van Rijn. Professor Ben Slotman, who became chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology in 1997 and who has seen it grow threefold since then, says the new facility will enable his team to increase the number of patients they treat per year from 2,000 to 3,000.
“As well as treating more people and thereby reducing waiting times, we will also be far better able to carry out research in this great new facility. It means an increase in capacity and an increase in functionality,” says Professor Slotman.
The five Clinac linear accelerators at VUMC are equipped to deliver intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a new, ultra-precise technique for eradicating tumours with radiation.IMRT enables doctors to carefully control the radiation beam, and to deliver higher doses of radiation directly to cancer cells while reducing the dose to surrounding healthy tissues.It has the potential to increase cure rates in a number of solid tumour cancers while limiting negative side effects. Each Clinac linear accelerator is outfitted with a Millennium multileaf collimator (MLC), an accessory that has 120 computer-controlled mechanical “leaves” or “fingers” that are used to shape radiation beams so that they hit tumours while avoiding the patients’ surrounding healthy tissues.In addition, the centre also boasts two Varian simulators, VariSource afterloaders for brachytherapy and over 100 VarisVision workstations for managing patient and image data. In an overall department of 128 people, the team of 10 radiation oncologists, four physicists, four radiation biologists and support staff also use Varian’s Eclipse and Helios treatment planning software and the PortalVision verification software in a digitally integrated environment.
In addition, according to Professor Slotman, VUMC was the first facility in Europe to use 4-D respiratory gating on the Clinac, a progressive method of tracking the motion of tumours during the breathing cycle. “It’s just one example of our work with Varian equipment,” he adds. “We have been working with Varian since 1984 and it’s an all-Varian department, which gives a strong indication of our relationship with the
The Vrije University (Free University) Medical Centre plays a leading role in the Dutch health service and is renowned for its academic nature. While functioning as a hospital, the centre also carries out specialised research, diagnosis and treatment.
Walter Frei, Varian’s VP Marketing Operations Europe, says, “VUMC is a world-leading radiation therapy centre and this wonderful new facility will enable even more cancer patients to get the treatment they need.”
Note to editors – digital images of centre and Professor Slotman
available on request from