Healthcare Industry News:  X-ray imaging 

Devices Oncology

 News Release - February 7, 2007

Physicians at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta Treat Pediatric Brain Tumors Using Trilogy(R) Technology for Image-Guided Stereotactic Radiotherapy

ATLANTA, Feb. 7 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Physicians at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, are offering children and adults with difficult-to-treat brain tumors new hope in the form of image-guided stereotactic radiotherapy using a Trilogy® linear accelerator from Varian Medical Systems. Currently, the radiation oncology clinical team at Piedmont is treating an eleven-year-old boy for a brain tumor growing near his optic nerve. According to Jeff Nuskind, medical physicist for the treatment team, this child's brain tumor would not have been treatable without the extreme precision made possible by the Trilogy machine and its image-guidance capabilities.

"This boy's brain tumor has recurred very close to the optic nerve," said Adam Nowlan, MD, MPH, radiation oncologist. "For this reason, it is crucial that we irradiate only the targeted tumor and protect as much as possible the rest of the brain tissue as well as the optic nerve."

Nowlan points out that the boy still runs a small risk of visual complications, but the hope is that his eyesight can be preserved. "If we had allowed his tumor to progress, it would certainly have blinded him in that eye," he said. "Our Trilogy machine now makes it possible to deliver treatments with extreme accuracy."

Before the boy's treatments began, doctors implanted three tiny gold markers into his skull, for use as landmarks for aiming the radiation beams. The treatment team locates the gold markers prior to each of the boy's daily treatments using Varian's On-Board Imager® device, a robotic X-ray imaging system attached to the Trilogy machine. This ensures that the targeted tumor is precisely where it should be for treatment.

The Trilogy accelerator moves slowly around the boy to deliver the treatment beams from different angles, so that they converge on the tumor, matching its shape and size. Each of the boy's treatments takes about ten minutes, once he has been positioned for treatment. "He comes in for treatment at lunch time, and then goes back to school," said Nowlan.

According to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, more than 21,000 American children are living with the diagnosis of a primary brain tumor, and every day, nine more children are diagnosed (http://www.pbtfus.org/). "Although as many as 60 percent of children survive treatment for brain tumors, they often contend with long-term side effects, some of them quite serious. By expanding access to ultra-precise image-guided radiosurgery, Varian's Trilogy machine has the potential to make a big difference in these children's lives," said Lester Boeh, Varian vice president and head of the company's Surgical Sciences group.

"With Trilogy, we combine 3-D imaging for accuracy and unmatched treatment speed which translates into faster, more comfortable radiosurgical treatments for patients and better clinical outcomes as a result of improved radiobiological response," Boeh added. "I think this is why our Trilogy machine, which in recent months comprised about 30 percent of our orders for treatment machines, is being adopted more rapidly than any other device for radiosurgical procedures."

Varian has already taken nearly 200 orders for the Trilogy machine since introducing it in 2004. Surgeons and radiation oncologists around the world are using Trilogy for everything from ablating tumors with a single radiosurgical procedure to ultra-precise radiotherapy treatments delivered over multiple sessions.

ABOUT PIEDMONT HOSPITAL

Piedmont Hospital is a 458-bed acute tertiary care facility in the north Atlanta community of Buckhead. Part of Piedmont Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization named one of the nation's 100 Best Performing Integrated Healthcare Networks, Piedmont Hospital is a recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient Safety(TM) from HealthGrades (a leading healthcare ratings company) and among the nation's Most Wired hospitals. Piedmont Hospital's radiation oncology program is one of the broadest and best established in the state of Georgia, earning 12 years of continuous accreditation by the American College of Radiology and more than 30 years of continuous approval from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Nearly 1,000 cancer patients are treated each year at Piedmont Hospital.

ABOUT VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE: VAR ) of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading manufacturer of medical products for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, brachytherapy, and radiosurgery. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and digital detectors for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,900 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 web site at http://www.varian.com/.


Source: Varian Medical Systems

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