GHENT, Belgium, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, among the first hospitals in the world to pioneer radiotherapy treatments using arc therapy, has carried out its first treatment using fast and efficient RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). A 56-year-old male rectal carcinoma patient was treated in just 75 seconds, over four times faster than possible using conventional fixed-beam treatments.
"This treatment would have taken more than five minutes using conventional intensity-modulated radiotherapy and such time-savings are very important both for the wellbeing of the patient and the efficiency of the hospital," said Professor Marc van Eijkeren, head of Ghent University Hospital's Department of Radiation Oncology. "We were able to achieve an increase in dose to the tumor while using far fewer monitor units of radiation to achieve this. Indeed, there was threefold reduction in monitor units used, which is helpful in tissue sparing and increasing patient comfort."
"We are a busy university hospital and we are under constant strain to deliver advanced IMRT treatments within our standard 15 minutes treatments slots," he added. "With RapidArc, that will no longer be a problem as we will be able to offer advanced conformal treatments to more patients while reducing our treatment slot times."
Professor van Eijkeren said the patient's treatment involved treating the rectum, pelvis and lymph nodes in a single arc - or revolution - of the Clinac® iX medical linear accelerator. All such rectal treatments will now be carried out using the RapidArc technique and the team at Ghent also plans to begin using RapidArc for other cancers in the pelvic region.
Physicist Leen Paelinck said Eclipse™ treatment planning software was quick and simple to use, reducing the planning time substantially. "The planning process involves contouring, optimization, calculation and evaluation and Eclipse enables us to undertake this process more quickly than was previously possible," said Leen Paelinck.
Professor van Eijkeren says his hospital's long history with advanced techniques such as arc therapy comes from its goal of gaining greater tumor control and fewer side effects. Ghent University Hospital serves more than 1.5 million people in the northern regions of Belgium.
"Ghent University Hospital is unique in its long experience in volumetric intensity modulated arc treatments and its adoption of RapidArc as the best solution for this patient and others is a significant step forward," says Vincent Ronfle, Varian's regional sales manager. "Such milestones are helpful in understanding the present and future applications of this technology in our efforts to improve treatments for patients."
RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. Since its introduction last year, more than 270 RapidArc systems have been installed in hospitals globally.
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
About Varian Medical Systems
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 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China, and Europe and in its 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.varian.com/