PHILADELPHIA, ASTRO Booth # 919, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) has added new motion management capabilities to the company's industry-leading Eclipse™ radiotherapy treatment planning system, enabling clinicians to increase treatment precision for tumors in mobile areas of the body, such as the lung.
"We have enhanced the Eclipse system so that it can create treatment plans that compensate for tumor motion during treatment," said Jeff Amacker, director, treatment planning systems. "The system enables clinicians to see and assess the extent of any tumor motion, and to design treatment strategies that take the motion into account so that radiation doses can be concentrated more closely on the tumor even as it moves."
While clinicians have been able, for some time, to treat moving tumors using Varian's RPM™ respiratory gating system to synchronize treatment with a patient's respiratory cycle, the enhancements to Eclipse will enable them to use tumor motion data at the outset, during the planning phase of treatment.
"To plan these kinds of treatment in the past, we had to manually import and co-register both PET and CT images from all of the phases of the respiratory cycle and work with these individually in a process that took about three hours per case," said Allan Caggiano, MS, chief physicist at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. "This new tool in Eclipse reduces that timeframe down to something quite manageable, by allowing the PET and CT images to be easily imported and automatically co-registered. And the process is more versatile, because we can work with this large amount of image data quickly, giving us more time to try different treatment planning approaches to make sure we're finding the optimal respiratory cycle phase for delivering the treatment."
"With the new software, clinicians can generate plans that incorporate motion data as quickly as they can prepare any other kind of treatment plan, making motion management much more feasible for busy radiation oncology departments," Amacker said. "We fully expect that the increased efficiency and ease of use will facilitate adoption of these advanced techniques at treatment centers around the world."
According to Caggiano, the new capabilities in Eclipse make three important things possible. "First, the system generates 'animated' images that show exactly how a tumor is moving when the patient breathes. Second, the doctor can assess the magnitude of the motion, and plan the treatment to minimize the amount of tissue exposed to the treatment beam. If the motion is significant, the doctor can use 'respiratory gating' during treatment. Finally, for image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), the moving images in Eclipse can be compared with images taken at the treatment machine later in a course of treatment, to make sure that the tumor motion due to respiration hasn't changed over time, or to make adjustments if it has. This makes it much easier to plan highly targeted treatments like intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for moving tumors in the chest or abdomen," Caggiano said.
The new Eclipse capabilities, which are on display this week at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will begin shipping to customers in early 2007.
ABOUT VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading manufacturer of medical technology for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, brachytherapy, and radiosurgery. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and digital image detectors for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. The company's high-energy imaging systems are also used for screening cargo. 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/.
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