Healthcare Industry News: head and neck cancer
News Release - April 23, 2008
Varian Medical Systems Announces Record Demand for New RapidArc(TM) Radiotherapy Treatment CapabilityCompany reports more than 60 orders for faster form of image-guided intensity-modulated radiation therapy
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 23 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR ) today announced it has received more than 60 orders for its new RapidArc radiotherapy product for faster image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). RapidArc orders have been concentrated in North America but have also come in from Europe and Asia since the product was introduced to the market in January, according to the company.
"We are delighted with the early interest in RapidArc, which promises to be a formidable weapon in the battle against cancer," says Tim Guertin, president and CEO of Varian Medical Systems. "This represents the strongest demand for any new product in our history and reflects the need for faster, more user-friendly systems that enable clinics to offer more patients greater access to advanced image-guided IMRT treatments with precision and quality. With RapidArc, we are adding to the already-unsurpassed versatility and value of our Clinac® and Trilogy® accelerators, making it possible for clinics to use a broader range of imaging, motion management, and dose delivery techniques to deliver an optimal cancer treatment for each and every patient." The company expects to begin shipment of the RapidArc product before the end of this month.
RapidArc delivers a complete volumetric IMRT treatment in a single arc of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT, including helical tomotherapy. Treatment planning analyses show that RapidArc matches or exceeds the precision of conventional IMRT systems and spares more of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Clinical studies on radiotherapy correlate the ability to spare more healthy tissue with reduced complications and better outcomes.
Todd Scarbrough, MD, medical director of the MIMA Cancer Center in Melbourne, Florida, says, "The largest, most easily quantifiable gain which RapidArc offers is an improvement in treatment time. There is no other system on the market which can offer a standard (1.8-2.0 gray) daily radiation dose, as an IMRT treatment, in a 2 minute timeframe. Furthermore, with this dramatic improvement in treatment time, there is no trade-off in any other area. If anything, there is an improvement -- although modest in many cases -- in dose distribution, and also less total scatter 'out-of-field' dose to the patient."
Dr. Ben Slotman of VU Medical Center in Amsterdam supports this, saying, "The benefits of fast RapidArc treatments are many. Faster treatment delivery has an economic benefit because more patients can be treated with more advanced techniques at a lower cost to public healthcare systems. In addition to improving patient comfort, shorter treatment times can enhance treatment quality by reducing the risk of patient movement during treatment. It is also clear that when a dose distribution is more conformal to the tumor or enables better avoidance of critical structures, a higher dose can be given, with better options for treatment and lower risks of side effects."
"RapidArc will significantly shorten the treatment time, particularly for complex head and neck cases," says Richard Popple, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Shortened treatment times will reduce discomfort and, more importantly, increase the accuracy of tumor targeting, as patient anatomy will have less opportunity to change after the initial setup. The increased throughput on our most advanced treatment unit will allow the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology to offer image-guided intensity-modulated radiation therapy to more patients."
Yashoda Hospital in Hyderabad, India, is among the leading oncology centers to order RapidArc. The private hospital, which currently treats more than 900 patients a year using a single Varian Clinac linear accelerator, has announced plans to install a second Clinac with an On-Board Imager® for image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and fast and precise RapidArc capability.
"RapidArc will certainly help our speed and efficiency and we see many advantages in using it for IMRT treatments for head and neck cancers in particular," says Dr. G.S. Rao, managing director of the Yashoda group of hospitals. "We will also take advantage of RapidArc for prostate, cervical and pediatric cancers. This is marvelous for us because this advanced radiotherapy capability will help to put us among the leading hospitals in the world. It's a very exciting time for us and a very exciting technology."
"In modern cancer treatments it's important for treatment machines to be versatile," says Mohan Suntha, MD, of the University of Maryland Department of Radiation Oncology. "Radiation oncologists need to be able to deliver high quality arc therapy for prostate and head and neck tumors, but you also need to deliver fixed beam treatments for breast cancer in order to avoid unnecessary exposure of the heart and lung; you need motion management for lung cancer treatments; and electron beam treatments for lesions on or near the skin. To have a single machine that offers all these treatments in a high quality fashion is the best approach for our patients."
Each year 10.9 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer and there are 6.7 million deaths from the disease. The global number of new cancer diagnoses is predicted to increase to 15 million per annum by 2020 and 20 million per annum by 2050. Radiotherapy is currently used in up to 60% of all cancer treatments.
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 4,600 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.
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Source: Varian Medical Systems
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