The Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Center, part of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, recently became the first center globally to receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) certification from Varian for its SRS equipment. Varian’s new SRS Certification Program was designed to help cancer centers demonstrate that their Varian technology for performing each step of the SRS process—from patient immobilization and simulation to treatment planning and treatment delivery—is performing to stringent radiosurgery-specific specifications.
“SRS is a highly precise treatment modality that involves the delivery of high doses of radiation quickly to a targeted area like a tumor, while minimizing exposure of surrounding healthy tissue. For that reason, accuracy and precision are of the utmost importance,” said Kayla Kielar, Director of Varian’s QA Portfolio, Motion Management and SRS Initiatives.
To earn Varian’s SRS Certification, cancer center personnel must demonstrate that their Varian SRS technology is meeting the rigorous standards for precision that SRS planning and delivery requires. Prerequisites include Varian’s End-to-End SRS phantom, a TrueBeam® or Edge® system v. 2.7 or higher, the PerfectPitch™ Six-Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) couch, the HD120™ multileaf collimator, the Eclipse™ treatment planning system v. 15.5 or higher, and the ARIA® oncology information system for radiation oncology v15.1 or higher.
There are two options for completing the certification program: through execution by the local physicist or with the support of a Varian consultant on-site, who helps the local physics team perform the required tests. In either case, a phantom insert is provided by the MD Anderson Dosimetry Laboratory (MDADL), for use in completing the end-to-end test for the machine being certified. The insert is irradiated under a site’s clinical treatment protocol and sent back to MDADL, which evaluates the results and issues a report that is the basis for the certification. Additional checks on machine-specific performance are evaluated by Varian prior to awarding a site with the SRS certification.
“The third-party involvement is an important aspect of the program because MDADL is an independent entity and well known throughout the world for expertise in quality assurance. Their participation lends a high level of credibility to this program,” says Richard Popple, PhD, Professor and Assistant Vice Chair for Medical Physics and Director of the Medical Physics Division in the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology.
“The Varian SRS certification has value for us because we provide SRS training to institutions. We run a multi-day course about six times a year, so this is certainly a helpful credential,” adds Dr. Popple. “We are adding information about this certification program to our curriculum—because we believe it’s important to establish credibility through third-party validation of your SRS program.”
Photo above: Richard Popple, PhD, with UAB’s SRS certification from Varian