Healthcare Industry News:  IGRT 

Devices Oncology

 News Release - January 9, 2006

Italian Patients Gain Access to Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) With Installation of Varian On-Board Imager at Humanitas Clinic in Milan

Humanitas Becomes First Clinic in Italy to Use Robotic Imaging Device From Varian Medical Systems

MILAN, Italy, Jan. 9 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- A leading Milan cancer center has become the first clinic in Italy to offer state-of-the-art image-guided radiotherapy treatments to patients with the installation of the country's first robotic On-Board Imager(TM) device from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR ).

The Humanitas Clinic will use the new device for image-guided radiotherapy treatments for a range of cancers, including head/neck, prostate, upper abdominal and lung tumors. Dr Marta Scorsetti, chief physician at the private clinic, said, "The On-Board Imager device will enable us to lower margins around the tumor, spare more healthy tissue from exposure and increase the dose and therefore the effectiveness of the treatment."

The On Board Imager device is a new accessory that is designed to improve the precision and effectiveness of cancer treatments by giving doctors the ability to track and adjust for changes in tumor positions more accurately at the moment of treatment. Up to now, doctors have had to account for tumor motion by using broader beams that expose a significant margin of healthy tissue in the treatment area.

Using the On-Board Imager, doctors can generate X-ray images of the patient's tumor and compare them with CT scans and DRR (digitally reconstructed radiograph) images from the treatment plan to ensure that the patient's tumor is aligned with the beam immediately prior to treatment. This enables radiographers to verify the tumor location while the patient is in the treatment position, and automatically move the treatment couch to the correct position before delivering the daily treatment. The fully automated Varian system makes it possible for clinical staff to complete the advanced IGRT treatments within the normal patient schedule.

"The On-Board Imager is extremely helpful because it allows us to precisely and quickly check and correct the accuracy of our treatments and repeatedly verify and re-plan based on what we're seeing," said Dr Scorsetti.

As well as enabling treatments using IGRT, the On-Board Imager device will also provide the impetus for doctors at Humanitas will introduce IMRT (intensity-modulated radiotherapy) treatments in February. IMRT is a breakthrough radiotherapy process that enables clinicians to precisely target the radiation dose at the cancerous tumor while protecting surrounding healthy tissue, as well as automatically varying the dose strength to kill the tumor more effectively.

On-Board Imager and IGRT

Varian's On-Board Imager device is a digital imaging system mounted on the treatment machine via robotically controlled arms that operate along three axes of motion so that they can be positioned optimally for the best possible view of the tumor. This device produces high-resolution images of the area to be treated. In addition, it can track tumor motion to provide doctors with a clear indication of exactly how a tumor will move during treatment due to respiration or other repeatable physiological cycles.

"By using our robotically-controlled On-Board Imager device and control software to image and position the patient, doctors are treating cancer with the best of two critical technologies for IGRT," said Dow Wilson, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "We have combined two important technologies on one platform: low-dose, high-resolution, kilovoltage X-ray imaging and integrated software control of all treatment parameters. This enables improved, fast, cost-effective, automated treatments that are conducive to patient comfort."

Humanitas

Humanitas, one of the biggest hospitals in the Milan urban area, serves up to three million people and treats 140 patients a day in the radiotherapy department. The clinic has specialized in head Stereotactic radiotherapy for primary and metastatic brain tumors and clinicians at Humanitas also perform body Stereotactic radiotherapy for lung and liver tumors.

High-resolution image available on request

About Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading supplier of equipment and software for treating cancer. The company is also a premier supplier of components including X-ray tubes and flat-panel detectors for medical, scientific, and industrial imaging. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,280 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 55 sales and support offices around the world. The company operates manufacturing and engineering centers in Baden (Switzerland), Crawley (England), Haan (Germany), Helsinki (Finland) and Toulouse (France) and has headquarters for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEA) based in Zug, Switzerland. Additional information is available on the company's web site at www.varian.com


Source: Varian Medical Systems

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