RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Clinicians at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center are among the first in the world to use new image-guided radiosurgery (IGRS) technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) to control the spread of metastatic cancer.
Theodore Chung, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist and researcher for Massey and an associate professor at the VCU School of Medicine, used the new technique to offer new hope to a 47-year-old mother of four whose breast cancer was spreading to her brain and liver. The patient was first treated for breast cancer five years ago and it seemed to be under control until metastatic lesions began to appear. Chung treated several of her metastatic lesions with IGRS, an ultra precise procedure that makes it possible to monitor, track, and target tumors with high doses of radiation in just one to five treatment sessions.
"Our new real-time imaging and targeting capabilities are helping us turn cancer into a controllable disease," said Chung. "These recent advances in radiosurgery are opening up an era in cancer treatment where we can actually begin to control metastatic spread."
Chung and his team deliver IGRS treatments using Varian's Trilogy™ linear accelerator with an On-Board Imager® device for pinpointing tumors and targeting them with precisely shaped therapeutic beams. They also use an optical system to continuously monitor and ensure that the patient remains properly positioned during treatment. To further enhance accuracy and address the problem of tumor motion during treatment, the team uses Varian's RPM respiratory gating system to synchronize beam delivery with patients' natural breathing patterns.
For the patient with metastasized breast cancer, Chung and his team were able to use their IGRS system to spare significant amounts of her healthy tissue while treating three separate brain lesions in a single course of treatment. "One lesion was close to the motor strip," Chung said. "Too much dose to this area might have damaged her ability to move. The second lesion was close to the brain stem -- another area that had to be carefully protected during treatment. By using Trilogy's On-Board Imager to take radiographic X-rays, we were able to quickly line up bony anatomical landmarks each day and position the patient properly for her treatments."
The optical positioning system made it possible for Chung to avoid using a conventional head frame that must be screwed into to a patient's skull to keep it immobilized during treatment.
To deal with a metastatic tumor that appeared in the patient's liver, Chung and his team delivered a "gated" radiosurgery treatment on the Trilogy machine that compensated for respiratory motion during the sophisticated treatment. The Massey Cancer Center was one of the earliest adopters of Varian's RPM™ respiratory gating technology for targeting tumors that move during treatment due to the patient's breathing.
"She's doing fine right now," Chung reported. "Her quality of life has been reasonable, under the circumstances. Recovery from this type of radiosurgery is virtually immediate because there are no incisions or invasive procedures and because the technology allows us to treat tumors to high doses while sparing normal organs."
"We're very proud of our Trilogy radiosurgery program," said Jeffrey Williamson, PhD, chairman of the Medical Physics Division at the Massey Cancer Center Radiation Oncology Department. "We treat some 30 patients per day, mostly for lesions in the brain, lung, or liver. I see that widening in the near future, as system enhancements help us use images to adapt the treatment plan every day over a longer course of treatment. That's what's coming next."
The VCU Massey Cancer Center is one of 61 National Cancer Institute- designated institutions that leads and shapes America's cancer research efforts. Working with all kinds of cancers, the Center conducts basic, translational and clinical cancer research, provides state-of-the-art treatments and clinical trials, and promotes cancer prevention and education. Since 1974, Massey has served as an internationally recognized center of excellence. It offers more clinical trials than any other institution in Virginia, serving patients in Richmond and in four satellite locations. Its 1,000 researchers, clinicians and staff members are dedicated to improving the quality of human life by developing and delivering effective means to prevent, control and ultimately to cure cancer. Visit Massey online at http://www.massey.vcu.edu/ or call 1-877-4-MASSEY.
ABOUT VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS
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 3,600 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 56 sales and support offices around the world. Additional information is available on the company's investor relations web site at http://www.varian.com/.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Statements in this press release regarding future business, events, plans, objectives, expectations, estimates, and other similar matters, including, but not limited to, statements using the terms "are helping," "are opening up," "widening in the future," and "next" constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements contained in this press release are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including, but not limited to, the risks described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed from time to time by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this press release. The Company assumes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements because of new information, future events, or otherwise.
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: Virginia Commonwealth University Andrea L. Butler (804) 628-2111 firstname.lastname@example.org Varian Medical Systems Meryl Ginsberg (650) 424-6444 email@example.com
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.massey.vcu.edu/
Web site: http://www.varian.com/