COPENHAGEN, Denmark and AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, May 14 Doctors in Denmark and the Netherlands havesuccessfully carried out Europe's first clinical treatments using advancedRapidArc(TM) technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). Cancerpatients at Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet and Amsterdam's VU University medicalcenter became the first people in Europe to benefit from this advanced form ofintensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).
Dr. Svend Aage Engelholm, chief radiation oncologist of the Department ofRadiation Oncology at Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), says,"Our first image guided RapidArc treatment went perfectly and the only unusualaspect was that the patient joined the clinical team in a celebratory glass ofchampagne after treatment. He was certainly aware that this was the firstclinical treatment of its kind in Europe." Dr. Engelholm said the actualtreatment took just 75 seconds to deliver.
The 60-year-old patient, who is half-way through his scheduled treatmentcycle, had been receiving five-field image-guided intensity-modulatedradiotherapy (IMRT) and doctors decided to convert his treatment plan toRapidArc, which was commissioned on one of the hospital's Clinac(R) iX linearaccelerators earlier in the week. "We knew that we would really be able toreduce the rectal dose to this patient by using RapidArc and, as it turnedout, we reduced it by 15 percent," adds Dr. Engelholm. He added that, as ofthis week, RapidArc would be the hospital's standard treatment for allprostate cancer patients and other suitable indications would follow.
Clinicians in Amsterdam also carried out their first RapidArc treatment ona 59-year-old head/neck cancer patient. Dr. Ben Slotman, Professor andChairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, VU University medical center,said, "As our patient was undergoing re-irradiation, it was important tominimize doses to the brainstem and critical structures. We were able toachieve an optimal plan quickly with RapidArc. We perform many IMRTtreatments and will replace all such treatments with RapidArc over time,especially as treatment planning and dose verification only took 24 minutes,which is considerably faster than with standard IMRT."
The treatment in Amsterdam took place on a Trilogy(R) linear acceleratorwith advanced imaging using the machine's On-Board Imager(R) accessory.
Jiri Bocanek, Varian's senior product manager for delivery systems, said,"We greatly appreciate the dedicated work of these two cancer centers to makethese fast and accurate treatments a reality. After more than a year ofevaluation, testing and quality assurance work, we are very happy to see asmooth clinical introduction of RapidArc." He also paid tribute to the otherEuropean members of the RapidArc Council -- CRLC Val d'Aurelle in Montpellier,France and University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland -- who are also soon tostart clinical treatments with RapidArc.
RapidArc delivers a complete volumetric intensity-modulated radiationtherapy treatment in a single arc of the treatment machine around the patientand makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight timesfaster than is possible with conventional IMRT, including helical tomotherapy.Treatment planning analyses show that RapidArc matches or exceeds theprecision of conventional IMRT systems and spares more of the healthy tissuesurrounding the tumor. Unrelated clinical studies on radiotherapy correlatethe ability to spare more healthy tissue with reduced complications and betteroutcomes.
"RapidArc extends the versatility of Varian's image-guided radiotherapysystem, adding volumetric arc therapy to other advanced capabilities includingfixed-beam IMRT and stereotactic treatments," said Dow Wilson, president ofVarian's Oncology Systems business. "By outfitting their treatment machinewith this new capability, clinicians