OHSU Announces First Clinical Use in the Pacific Northwest of Novalis Tx™ Technology for Non-Invasive, Image-Guided Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) and Radiosurgery | Varian

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OHSU Announces First Clinical Use in the Pacific Northwest of Novalis Tx™ Technology for Non-Invasive, Image-Guided Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) and Radiosurgery

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Doctors at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have become the first clinicians in the Pacific Northwest to offer patients an advanced form of image-guided stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and radiosurgery using new Novalis Tx™ technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) and BrainLAB. OHSU installed the new Novalis Tx platform in order to offer patients fast, accurate non-invasive treatments for cancer and abnormalities of the central nervous system.

Martin Fuss, MD, director of the image-guided radiation therapy program in OHSU's Department of Radiation Medicine, has now treated over 30 patients using Novalis Tx since its installation in June. Patients were treated for tumors of the brain, spine, lung, and liver-all areas that can be difficult and sometimes impossible to treat using open surgery or conventional forms of radiation therapy.

In one case, OHSU doctors found a small, early-stage lung cancer tumor in a 78-year-old woman when she received a routine X-ray after a fall. "It's an odd thing to say, but she was lucky to have fallen. If she hadn't, we might not have found the cancer so early," Fuss said. "Because of her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she wasn't a candidate for surgery. Typically, we would have offered this type of patient a conventional course of radiation therapy, but that offers then only a fifty-fifty chance of success, defined by local tumor control."

According to Dr. Fuss, who is also a member of the OHSU Cancer Institute, stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT using Novalis Tx technology offers a good chance of achieving 85 to 90 percent local tumor control rates in this type of case, based on preliminary studies looking at the results of using SBRT to treat early-stage lung cancer.(1)

Another important use of the Novalis Tx at OHSU has been the treatment of liver tumors as a bridge to receiving a liver transplant. "In a cirrhotic liver, the tumor is surrounded by tissues that are already severely compromised," Fuss said. "In the past, we rarely tried to treat these cases with radiation at all. Many of these patients are on waiting lists for transplants, and they might wait over nine months. Now, with Novalis Tx, we are following trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) with a five-day course of SBRT, in an effort to shrink the tumor, or at least keep it from growing, which would cause the patient to lose eligibility for a transplant."

The majority of Fuss's SBRT patients have lung or liver cancer, but he and his colleagues are also treating pituitary adenomas, acoustic neuromas, brain, and spinal tumors, as well as arteriovenous malformations (AVM), which are defects of the vascular system involving snarled tangles of arteries and veins.

The Novalis Tx Platform

The Novalis Tx platform combines the most advanced technologies available from Varian Medical Systems, the world's foremost provider of medical devices and software for treating cancer, and BrainLAB, a leader in software-driven medical technologies for precise and non-invasive surgical procedures. It incorporates a powerful linear accelerator, which rotates around the patient to deliver treatment beams from virtually any angle. A set of sophisticated image guidance and motion management tools provide clinicians with detailed information about the shape, size, and position of the targeted lesion, guide patient set up and positioning, and monitor motion during treatment. There are tools for synchronizing treatment with the patient's breathing patterns, and to compensate for tumor motion while treating in or near the lungs. A high-definition multi-leaf collimator, a beam shaping device, ensures that the treatment beam matches the shape of the tumor from every angle.

"When we are treating in areas close to critical structures like the spinal cord or the optic nerve, we need the level of precision that we can get with Novalis Tx. It offers us unparalleled image-guidance tools and treatment beam sculpting capabilities, so we can accurately target lesions while protecting the patient's healthy tissues during a SBRT or radiosurgery procedure," Fuss said.

"I am proud to say that OHSU is among the leaders in IGRT. The depth of our IGRT services is without doubt first class," he added. "With the addition of Novalis Tx, we have entered a new age of medicine, making ultra-precise radiation therapy a real alternative to conventional surgery for some of the patients in our community."

The American Cancer Society estimates that, in the United States this year, doctors will diagnose 1,437,180 new cancer cases; over 19,000 will occur in the state of Oregon, and another 32,380 in the state of Washington.


The OHSU Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center between Sacramento and Seattle. It comprises some 200 clinical researchers, basic scientists and population scientists who work together to translate scientific discoveries into longer and better lives for Oregon's cancer patients. In the lab, basic scientists examine cancer cells and normal cells to uncover molecular abnormalities that cause the disease. This basic science informs more than 300 clinical trials conducted at the OHSU Cancer Institute. The Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), with 12,400 employees. OHSU serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.


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 4,800 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.

(1) Lagerwaard FJ, Haasbeek, CJ, Smit, EF, Slotman MD, and Senan S. Outcomes Of Risk-Adapted Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy For Stage I Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Int. J. Radiation Oncology Biol. Phys., Vol. 70, No. 3, pp. 685-692, 2008


   Oregon Health & Science University
   Christine Decker, 503-494-8231

   Varian Medical Systems
   Meryl Ginsberg, 650-424-6444

SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.; The OHSU Cancer Institute

CONTACT: Christine Decker of Oregon Health & Science University,
+1-503-494-8231, deckerch@ohsu.edu; or Meryl Ginsberg of Varian Medical
Systems, +1-650-424-6444, meryl.ginsberg@varian.com

Web site: http://www.varian.com/