Expert Predicts Wholesale Transformation of Radiation Oncology Within Five Years | Varian

Expert Predicts Wholesale Transformation of Radiation Oncology Within Five Years

MELBOURNE, Australia--(BW HealthWire)--Feb. 6, 2001--A new, more effective technique for eradicating tumors with radiation will soon replace conventional radiation therapy for many forms of cancer, according to Soren Bentzen, Ph.D., a leading international cancer expert. Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which can be used to treat breast, prostate, lung, head and neck, brain, and other cancers, allows physicians to deliver high doses of radiation directly to cancer cells while reducing the amount of radiation going to surrounding healthy tissues.

Speaking before a group of 300 international radiation oncology professionals attending the International Congress of Radiation Oncology in Melbourne, Australia last week, Bentzen, who is Head of Biostatistics at the Gray Laboratory Cancer Research Trust in London, predicted that IMRT will replace conventional radiation therapy in the next five years.

Varian Medical Systems, a leading manufacturer of IMRT equipment, sponsored two symposia about IMRT at the Melbourne conference. The second featured Clifton Ling, Ph.D., Chairman of the Medical Physics Department at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York and one of the world's foremost IMRT experts. Dr. Ling's presentation focused on implementation issues.

Top cancer experts from India, China, Hong Kong, Korea, South Africa, South America, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. were on hand to learn how IMRT can be implemented. "There is a growing excitement within the radiation oncology community about the potential of IMRT to improve cancer outcomes," said John Ford, president of international operations for Varian Medical Systems.

Varian's version of IMRT, called SmartBeam(R) IMRT, uses computer-generated images to deliver a tightly focused "smart beam" of radiation that targets tumor cells and misses nearby tissues and organs. Some hospitals that are already treating patients with SmartBeam IMRT include Emory University in Atlanta, Charite Hospital in Berlin, Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, Royal Marsden Hospital in London, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, California, and the Thompson Cancer Survival Center in Knoxville.

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE:VAR) 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 2,300 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe and in its 40 sales and support offices around the world. In its most recent fiscal year ended September 29, 2000, Varian Medical Systems reported sales of $690 million. Additional information is available on the company's web site at www.varian.com.

CONTACT: Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto
Spencer Sias, 650/424-5782
spencer.sias@varian.com